DEVOTEES' EXPERIENCES

OF

SRI SAI BABA

PARTS I II & III

BY H.H.NARASIMHASWAMIJI

PUBLISHED BY AKHANDA SAINAMA SAPTHAHA SAMITHt

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DEVOTEE'S EXPERIENCES

1. Shri M. B. Rege

2. Prof. C. G. Narke

3. Rao Bahadur S. B. Dhumal

4. Santaram Balwant Nachne Dahanukar

5. Sri Narayan Asram

6. Mrs. Manager

7. Raghuvir B. Purandhare

8. Rao Saheb Yeshwant Janardan Galwankar   -

9. Abdullah Jan

10. Chakra Narayana

11. Joseph Fouzdar

12. Dadaji Gopinath Joshi

DEVOTEES' EXPERIENCES

llth June, 1936.

chinna kistna rajasaheb bahadur, B.A., LL.B., Saraswath aged about 50, Interior of India, says:

I look upon Sri Sai Baba as the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. I did so before his mahasamadhi in 1918 and I do so now. To me, he is not gone. He is, even now.

To me, he had no limitations. Of course, when he was with us, there was the fleshy tabernacle. That was promi­nently brought to our notice at times. But mostly the infinite aspect of His was what remained before me. I thought of him as a mental or spiritual image, in which the finite blended very perfectly - yet allowing the finite to appear before us at times. Now that the body has been cast off, the infinite alone remains, as 'Sai Baba'.

I am not after metaphysics and philosophical conun­drums. Sai Baba occasionally talked in mystic language and used parables freely - which however, were constructed in widely different ways by different listeners. Once he talked to me in the mystic way and asked me whether I understood him. I said 'No'. Others were present then. After they left, I told him that I did not grasp mystic utterances and that if he intended that I should grasp anything he should speak to me in plain terms. After that he spoke to me only in plain words and not in parables.

A short account of myself is necessary to show how I came to Sai Baba and how he filled my life and became my all in all.

Our family God is Durga - Santa Durga of Goa - a Bhadra form and not a Rudra form. I used to worship her and pray that she might ever keep me happy. Later when I was about eight years old, I had my sacred thread initiation and leamt my Goyotri and Sondhyo, These I had regard for.

I was thus naturally led on from Durga to another form of God.   i.e.,   Narayana   or  Vishnu.      Vishnu   as   pictured   in "Dhruva - Narayana" made a deep impression on me, and I constantly meditated on that picture. When I concentrated or tried to concentrate on Vishnu, Dhruva's figure frequently obtruded and so I cut off that portion of the picture and continued my meditation.    I made a special appeal that in that blank space in the picture, (i.e., in that vacancy) Vishnu should place me.   I had even as a boy practiced Asana and Pranayama.  I could pass one or two hours sitting in Padmas-ana or Siddhasana and concentrate for at least fifteen min­utes, a single picture holding the entire field of my attention. I did all this without a Guru.  I succeeded in Pranayama also to some extent.    In this way my meditation on Vishnu or Narayana was fairly intense.   This continued till my twenty-first year. Then (i.e., 1910) one day, I was either sleeping and had dreams or I had trance visions - I cannot say what they were.  But the following three experiences I had in the course of one night.

As I was in the lying posture on my bed, I felt a change. I was perceiving that the body lay separate and I was disengaged from it - disconnected or unconnected. I was different from the body; and in front of me stood the figure of Vishnu Narayana. This ended; and about an hour later, a second incident followed. Again my body lay there on the bed. I was outside it. Sri Vishnu Narayana was standing before me. And by his side stood another figure. Sri Vishnu addressed me and pointing to the other figure said This Sai Baba of Shirdhi, is your man; you must resort to him".

The third incident or vision followed soon after - after about the same interval perhaps. I felt I was moving in some strange way. It was like levitation in the air. I came or was carried thus to a village. I found some one there and asked him what village that was. He said it was Shirdi, I asked him, "Is there any person named 'Sai Baba' here?" "Yes" he an­swered, "come and see". I was taken to the mosque. There I saw Sai Baba. He was seated with legs outstretched. I went and reverently placed my head on his feet. He got up and said "Do you take my darshan? I am your debtor, I must take your darshan," and he placed his head on my feet. Then we parted.

These visions impressed me greatly.  Before that time I had a  picture of Sai Baba in the usual seated posture , and I  knew nothing more about him.    I did not then know That Baba often sat with both legs outstretched.   Some time

later I started on my first visit to Baba and Shirdi, and tried to verify my visions and to see if Sai Baba was my destined sole Guru as indicated in them.

When I went to Sri Baba at the mosque, there were many others with him.    I went and prostrated, placing my head on his feet.    He then said "What! Do you worship a man?"  At once I retreated some distance and sat.   I felt the rebuff very keenly.   I had, it is true, my scholastic notions that men should not be worshipped; and thought Sai Baba was hitting at me for going to him, with such notions linger­ing in my head.    Between two stools I was coming to the ground.   My scholastic idea of not worshipping any human being had been undermined and practically sacrificed; but I had not been accepted as a devotee by the Guru as I expected - from my visions.  I felt deeply mortified and continued to sit for some hours.  Then all had cleared of, leaving Baba alone on the floor of the mosque. That was in the afternoon. It was believed that none should go to Baba at that time, lest any serious harm should be inflicted as a penalty for the intru­sion.  But in my state of mind, such harm did not deter me. The main or single hope with which I had gone to Shirdi seemed to be blasted.    What more was there to fear?   He might beat me and crack my skull.    Let him.    With such ideas, I went nearer and nearer to the place where Baba sat. While I was some yards off, Baba gently beckoned to me to approach him.  Thus encouraged I went and placed my head on his feet.  He at once hugged me, bade me sit close to him, and thus addressed me. "You are my child. When others i.e. strangers are in the company, we keep the children of.   My apparent rejection or expulsion earlier in the day having been thus satisfactorily explained, I felt the full force of his deep and intense love for me and my heart responded to it.  There was my Saviour, my Guru - the man of my destiny, found at "      ka told me to go and put up with "Ayi". "Ramakrisha Ayi as he called her.  I went up.  Ever since that date, up to ,     end of  her life, whenever I went to Shirdi. Ayi's was my residence.  And except to go to Sai Baba, I would never leave Ayi's residence while I was at Shiridi.

Ayi was a noble and affectionate person - an "Ayi" or mother indeed.   She was from the very first treated by me as my mother and she loved me as if I was her son.  She used to get a roti (bread) from Baba as prasad - on which alone she was living; and Baba used to send her an additional roti for me,  Sometimes the extra roti received at Ayi's would indicate to her that I was on the way to Shirdi and would soon arrive. Ayi's devotion to Sai Baba was very intense and passionate. She lived only for Sai Baba, and her delight was to carry out everything that he wanted or was needed for his samasthan, i.e., institution and devotees.   I find that Baba's instruction and help to me came through Ayi, in a peculiar way. Ayi was so open hearted and kind that from the first day I could confide all my views and plans to her; and she revealed her ideas and plans to me.   As for religious progress, she said that we should so act that no other persons should guess what we were doing and how we were getting on.   Secrecy is essential for the success or perfect fruition of spirtual effort. This was, of course, Baba's practice and precept.*

As for religious excercise, Ayi was an excellent singer with a divinely charming voice and a good knowledge of mu­sic. She could play on the Sitar also. I had a good ear for music and I easily attained manolaya[1]. I was rapt in the music when I listened to it. But as we went on, one day we talked about what form our religious excercise should take. Songs and hymns were good in their way, but they attracted attention of the outside public too much, and were not in any case sufficient for our onward course. Then we agreed that Japa was the proper step for us. What particular name should be used by us for Japa was the important question. She said that many used the name of Vittal. Ram etc., but that so fas as she was concerned, "Sai" was her God and that name was sufficient for her. while I might go on with the name of Vittal. etc., if I chose.   I replied that I had not seen Vittal: and what was good for her was good for me, and that I also would go on taking Sal's name.    So we sat on, facing each other and  repeating to  ourselves our chosen (guru God's) name - for about an hour.   Later in the day, Sai Baba sent for me and asked me what I had been doing in the morning.   "Japa" I said "Of what name?" he asked. "Of my God" I replied. "What is your God?" was Sai Baba's next query.   I simply replied, "You know it," and he smiled and said "That is righ”.  Thus this Japa was really the Japa that he  expressly  approved  and  had  perhaps  silently  started through Ayi - unperceived by either Ayi or myself. Japa being the Sadhana approved of (in my case), the question may be put - what is the Sadhya   or goal that Sai Baba approved of - as the goal of life?  What should a man aim at and reach as the end of his life?   Just as the Sadhana was indirectly started by Baba, the Sadhya or goal, also was indi­rectly revealed; it was patent from all he said and did.  It was through love, to reach God, (in any form, especially in the beloved Jorm   of  the   loving   Guru)   and   Intensely,   nay passionately,   to love him.  This is what we did and what he made us to do, i.e., what he enabled or drew us to do by his own intense and wonderful love for us.

Some may set a great store by Sakshatkara or revela­tion in physical form of the object of worship, as the be-all and end-all of all religion. But I do not. As I intently medi­tated on Baba, I had Baba's vision at the meditation. I, however, treated that appearance as a matter of secondary or minor importance. I did not want Baba to be outside of me. I said to Baba that I wanted him to come in and be me. What I mean by "me" is this. The self (i.e., T) is compounded of two substances - one the gross body and the other, the finer or subtler. In the finer, we have the baser element or part, and the nobler or higher. Our self, God Vittal and other entities are all the reflections of the Real; and so I should rise up to be Vittal or Sai; Vittal or Sai should come into me and take the place of my higher part. That is what I wanted to arrive at - and so was not satisfied with seeing Sai Baba as external to me in my meditation or contemplation.

I have not regularly studied even Gita up to this time. I did not care for spirtual study in my earlier days either; and so I do not go into much detail on the question of the exact description of the further stages or final stage of meditation.

One Guru-poornima day, numerous devotees came to Sai Baba, and as usual, placed a book before him so that he might return it with his Asirvada or blessing for them to study it with profit and benefit. Sai Baba, however, took up a book brought by one man and gave it to another, as he often does. On that occassion every one had a book in hand, except myself. Baba then looked at me and said pointing to the books:- "In these books, they want to find God Brahma. There is however, ‘Bhrama’, i.e. whirl, confusion or delusion in these books. You are alright. Do not read books but keep me in your heart If you unify (or har­monise) head and heart, that is enough." So I have not been indulging in any regular study of religious books. I content myself with what has led me so far; (and with what has been achieved). Some of my experiences bear upon the question what I should do. Though I have been intensely loving Sri Sai, I have not been able at times to do as good service to Baba as others do.

It was probably in 1912 that I went up to Shirdi on some festive occassion (Guru Poornima?) I saw the devotees at Manmad having each a grand basket with flower garlands etc. I was much pained to note that I had forgotten to take a flower garland when I was going to my Guru, who was every­thing to me. We all went to Shirdi and at the mosque, I found-Baba was under a great weight of flower garlands and it pained me again that I had not a garland to give him. Baba lifted up a bundle of the garlands with his hand and said "All these are yours". How kind of Baba! What love was his to me! all forgiving, all forgetting love.

About the same year 1912, I had taken Rs.100 with me to Shirdi in my poket. Sai Baba asked me for dakshtna '(Rs.40). I readily gave it. A little later he asked for another 40 rupees and that too was given with equal readiness and joy. Finally he asked me for the remaining 20 and that also I gave him. I was happy to give him all that - though I was left without a pie in the result. Then again Baba sent for me and asked me for dakshina. I said I had nothing to give. Then he suggested that I should go and get money from some others. I agreed but told Baba that if he should indicate whom I was to go to, I would gladly go and ask him. Baba said "Go to Shama". I went to Mr.Madhav Rao Deshpande (Shama) and told him what took place and asked him for money. He replied that I had not understood Baba right. "Does Baba care a rap for your rupees?" he said. "No, what he wants is your mind and heart, your time and soul to be devoted to him. That is his meaning". I went back to Baba and reported what Shama had said. Then Baba smiled and said, "Go to Dixit and ask him". I went to Mr. Dixit and told him of what Baba had bidden me to do. He then replied that Baba's direction to me had to be understood in the circumstances as a lesson to me that I should not feel absence of money or the begging for money or for anything else to be a humiliation, and that I should not esteem myself to be above begging. I went back and reported Dixit's reply to Baba. He smiled and then asked me to go to Nana Saheb Chandorkar and ask him for a loan. I went to Khandoba's temple where Nana Saheb Chandorkar was reading some religious books with the learned K.Upasani Sastri. I went and told Nana Saheb all that had occured and Baba's order that I should approach him for money. Nana Saheb at once showed his worldly wisdom. He said that he knew how delicate the situation was when Baba asked for dakshina and there was nothing to be given to him to satisfy him and that I should learn his plans and was. "Whenever I go to Shirdi". he said. "I start with a certain sum, and leave a half at Kopergaon, i.e., on this oc­cassion I came with Rs.200 out of which I have left Rs.100 at Kopergaon and come down to Shirdi with only Rs.100. It is very painful to say 'No' when Baba asks for money. So I go on giving dakshina out of the stock In hand to Baba and when it is exhausted, I send for the reserve at Kopergaon. You must act like this". I went back to Baba and then told him what Nana said. While I sat there. Baba sent for Nana and asked him for dakshina Rs.40. He paid it and went away. Again he sent for him and asked for Rs.40 more. That was paid and again Nana was sent for and the last amount was paid up and at once he sent some one to Kopergoan for his reserve fund. Then Baba at once wanted more. Nana felt humiliated at having to say 'No' as there was no time for the Kopergaon reserve to arrive. The lesson that then taught to him, to me, and to all was that it was presumption on the part of any one to think that he himself was the great Providence supplying the needs of Baba, or that any one could supply all that Baba might ask for. Thus Baba showed me how differently the demand for dakshina was interpreted by devotees. The real explanation of Baba's demand in this case was not what Shama. Dixit or Nana said it was. It was evidently to teach lessons to me, Nana etc. Baba really cared nothing for money or for presents. What he really wanted was, love - deep, in­tense, passionate, wholehearted love. To give him that was my aim. He knew it and read it in my heart and responded to It - as only he could respond.

It was probably in 1915 Ramanavami, when intending to go to Shirdi, I went into the Indore cloth bazar to fix upon a present - worthy of being presented to Baba. I found a fine lace embroidered muslin of the Dacca type, produced at Chander. It was some 5 feet square with embroidered body and 8 or 9 inches of lace border all round. It was very nice and worth the 85 rupees I paid for it. It could be folded into 6" x 6" x 1" packet. I took it with me to Shirdi and kept it inside my shirt. Devotees usually go and present Baba with cloth in order that the same may be returned to them with Baba's blessings; and the same is returned to them. In my case, I had made up my mind that if Baba cared for my love (which knew no difference between him and me) he should not return the same to me but should retain It and wear it. When each devotee went and presented his cloth, it would be openly bestowed and placed on Baba and then at the end, the attendants would call out, "Whose is this" and return it. In order to avoid the return, I had taken my tiny packet and when I bowed to Baba, I slyly shoved the packet under his mattress (gadi). When all clothes were taken and returned, none noticed what was beneath the gadi. Baba the got up and said "Clear off all that lies on the gadi and dust it". When the mattress was removed, there was the muslin packet. Baba picked it up and said "Hallo, What is this? Muslin!" and spread it out and said "I am not going to return this. This is mine". He then put it round his body and said to me "Don't I look nice in this?" I was immensely happy as his loving heart had fulfilled my request for the acceptance and retention of the present - as an index of the fact that I was not different from him - that / and he were one. I was not different from him. I and he were really one.

Our unity was expressly granted, in another way and at another time by Baba - about the same year.

I had gone to Shirdi and was staving as'usual at Ayi's. In the afternoon, when Baba was alone, he sent some one to fetch me and after dismissing the messenger from his pres­ence, he was very kind to me, made me sit close to him, embraced me, and said The key of my treasury is now placed in your hands. Ask anything you want e.g., Rs.5 or Rs. 100 a month-or what you like and I will give it to you". I felt at once that this was a temptation-and declined to ask for anything. Sai Baba knew what was necessary, good or useful for me and it was for him to decide and give or withhold. It was not for me to ask. Seeing my disinclination to ask, he held me by the chin and coaxed me into asking him for something. Then I asked, "Is it agreed Baba, that you will grant anything I ask for ?" "Yes" was his answer. Then Baba," I replied, "I want this. In this and in any future birth that may befall on me you should never part from me. You should always be with me." And he patted me joyously and said, "Yes I shall be with you, inside you, and outside you, whatever you may be or do." I was supremely happy. I feel that he is always with me. At times, he visibly shows his form to reassure me or guide me.

Many years later, I lost a child in a building which had numerous occupants. My wife was greatly depressed and started weeping. I assured her that Baba did only what was good for us and had taken away that child and so we should not weep and attract a crowd. I asked her to sleep till morn-ing-when the funeral would take place. She could not bear the sight of the corpse, and so I took it on myself and she went to lie down. Then when I had the corpse on my lap. Baba appeared to me, took me out and said "Do you want me or the dead child? Choose. You cannot have both. If you want me to revive the child, I will; but then you will have me no more with you. If you do not want revival you will have many children in due course." I had no hesitation in telling him that I wanted him. "Then do not grieve" he said and vanished. It is thus he encourages me when the occasion needs it, even by his presence. All my needs are met by Baba's grace. I do not trouble him with prayers Jor my worldly gains or support. I have my income and property and insur­ance and I am content with the provision for the present and future. If any need arises, I find that somehow the money comes up. I have nothing to complain of. Finally if I am asked what I would suggest to one who wished to find out how he (not having met Sai Baba in the flesh) could make himself a devotee of Sai Baba and get his help my answer will be that he should sit wholeheartedly and try to pour his heart in love to Sai Baba. It is not essential that he should go to Shirdi for that purpose-though Shirdi associations are un­doubtedly helpful. All that he should do is to transcend the senses and concentrate with love on Sai Baba. He would surely reach and obtain the help of Sai Baba - to obtain all that he is fit to achieve or receive.

Baba does not prescribe one uniform spiritual exercise or practice for all. He suits himself to the stage, circum­stances and conditions of each-"If you are a Rama Bhakta, keep to Rama. If you want only Allah, keep to Allah," is His advice. He is always impartial. Sometimes he pronounced or got some to pronounce 'fatiah' over Hindu offerings also. There was-as a rule-no sharp distinction or antagonism be­tween Hindus, devotion to him, and Mahommedans' devotion to him. There were, however, some exceptions. One I will mention.There were two "Rohillas" about 1916 who came to Shirdi and became devoted to Sai Baba. The elder one was constantly with Baba and used to read the Koran, at night especially, sitting at the feet of Baba. He declared that Baba was paygambar (i.e.,God) and showed him great reverence. At times he said that Baba (Though he was Paygambar) was still teaching heterodox doctrine. Baba's allowing the din of noon-day Arati with its music in the mosque, allowing him­self to be worshipped as God there, ard partaking of food offered to idols were heterodox; and this Rohilla mentioned his objections to Baba. But Baba only smiled and said "All that(l.e.,other Gods) is Allah" This was one of Baba's moods. In some moods, he would say "We are all the creations of God 'Allah*. In other moods he would say I am God." This, of course, was extreme heterodoxy in this Rohilla's view. So this Rohilla one day declared that, although Sal Baba was Paygambar, yet his doctrine was wrong and so he (the Ro­hilla) would make short work of him and his Doctrine. One day. as Sai Baba was going out walking, the Rohilla came up from behind, with a stout club in his right hand and reached striking distance. Baba turned towards him and touching or seizing his left wrist cast a glance at him beneath which the poor Rohilla cowered and sank like a lump of lead,-powerless to lift his club or even to lift himself. Baba left him there and went away. Later the man had to be raised up with some one's help. In a few days the man took leave of Baba and left Shirdi for good-never to return.

The other Rohilla was not intolerant but was rendre-ing humble service in the Samasthan.

As for intolerance, that was not confined to this Mus­lim devotee. There were some Hindu devotees who exhibited this feature. But Baba invariably discountenanced it, in ev­ery case.

It is neither necessary nor possible nor desirable to narrate all the experiences I had with Baba or in reference to Baba. Baba's Kindness and provision for my welfare knew no limits.   His methods of help were various and depended on the nature of the devotee concerned and the attendant cir­cumstances. In my case I had experience of all forms of his help. The first method of help is this : (1) When we are in dif­ficulties or when Baba wants us to take a particular course, the inspiration comes to us that, that course should be adopted and we have also the feeling that the inspiration comes from Baba.  If I am wanted at a very extraordinary time to go to Baba for private and solitary communion the call within is enough to indicate it.   This first method relates to Inspirations when we are awake.  (2) The second method is to give  the  suggestion  or indication or idea,  in dreams,  or trances - sometimes through Baba's personal appearance. This, of course, is the most impressive and unmistakable method.   (3) A third method is where Baba directs us to go to to some third person for a solution or hint.    Sometimes it happens that the third person is totally unfit even to under­stand the difficulty or the solution.Yet the solution   is given by that man without knowing what the problem is and what the solution Is and how he is benefitting us. He is a mere peg to hang the solution on. Baba has helped me in all these and other ways-and given me valuable training alike when he was in the body and, after he left it. I regard Sri Sai Baba as the same spirit as Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and one in­stance of the help he has given me recently-through this perception of identity may be mentioned.

Some eight years back I went to Dakshlneswar to see the places and things of interest. I got the service of a local man to act as my cicerone and he showed me the Kali figure that Paramahamsa worshipped and other images. I looked at Kali standing outside the worship room and passed on. I was anxious to see the tiny image of Ramlal that sported as a living boy with Paramahamsa, and told my guide to show me Ramlal. He took me to one of the temples and showed me a huge image and said This is Ramlal." I said It could not be. The man replied that he as the local man should know and that I, as a stranger, could not possibly be better informed. I had to apologise and I wondered what to think of the 'Ramlal’, I had read about him in Paramahamsa's life. Just at this juncture, a pujari of these temples came and inquired if I was from Deccan. I replied I was. Then he said he would show me round Kali and every other image at close quarters and with full details. I said I had just seen them. Then he insisted on my visiting them again. He did not want any money from me. The reason for his persistant request was that he had been instructed in a dream overnight that a devotee from Deccan would be coming on the following day and that he was to take him to all the images and help him to worship them. Thus assured, I followed him. He took me inside the Garbhagriha, the holy of holies of Kali and said I was free to touch the image and worship as I liked. Next he said that he would show me Ramlal. I said I had been shown a huge figure as Ramlal by my guide. The pyjari rated my cicerone for deceiving me and then took up the tiny image of Ramlal that Paramahamsa had played with and placed it on my lap. Thus all my expectations were fulfilled beyond meas­ure-all through the grace of Sai who Is no other -than Ramakrishna.

The great favour Salnath had conferred on me by tak­ing me so close to him and loving me and by my loving him had Its reflections In the way in which some eminent living saints treated me,

Madhava Nath Maharaj often seen at Poona and else­where (who passed away a month or two back) was seen by me in 1927. Maharaj without being told of me, spotted out my connection with Sai and said I was Sai Baba's man. He narrated to me the exact words that passed between me and Baba at our first interview; and he added that he was then present,-i.e., of course In invisible spirit form, or as Sai Baba.

II

(10th. 20th, 25th, 28th MAY 1936)

professor G.G. narke, m.a.,(cal.)m.sc.(manch), Profes­sor of Geology & Chemistry in College of Engineering, Deccan Gymkhana, age 53, Brahmin, Poona.says :

Experiences with saints and progress In one's spiri­tual affairs cannot be revealed. According to the (hackneyed) saying of Kabir ‘What one has got, he keeps secret.' This has been the strict injuction of my teacher Sri Sal Baba. The mouth instinctively closes when I try to men­tion my experiences. I can and may give some superficial account of occurrences and things concerning Sal Baba. These are well-known and no rule of secrecy is violated thereby. But they are chair and hardly worth any trouble to write or talk about. Yet as you are keen after any bit of information I shall mention some of such facts. Of course, the deepest experience one has is Incabable of utterance, apart from any question of rules of secrecy.

In the first place, you see I have placed Sai Baba amongst the house-hold Gods we worship daily at home. Sai Baba is God - not an ordinary Satpurusha. The divine gleam in Sal's eyes denotes that He Is the Satpurusha. His powers and actions were wonderful. I will give a chronological ac­count of my spiritual leanings and how I came into contact with Sal Baba.

My early surroundings promoted faith in Sal Baba. My father-in-law, Mr.Buty, my wife and my mother were all great devotees of Sai Baba and worshipped him as God. I used to read Jnaneswari and other works which deal with greatness of Satpurushas.

In 1907-9 I was at Calcutta and was trained in Geo­logical survey and {as a scholar from C.P.) I had got my MA. in 1905. I was sent in 1909 as State Scholar of Govt.of India to Manchester where I stayed till 1912 and got my M.Sc in Geology and Mining. I came back in August 1912. My wife, mother and my father-in-law were often at Shirdi and they wrote to me to go over to Shirdi to pay my respects to Sal Baba. I wrote back to say that I would go, if Baba wanted me. My father-in-law then asked Baba and wrote to me that Baba wanted me. So I went to Shirdi in April 1913. Baba was very kind to my relations. He would jump up (occasion­ally) and play a jig, as it were, before my mother, showing how happy he was to see my mother. Mr. Madhava Rao Deshpande went with me and introduced me for the first time to Sai Baba. Baba replied "You introduce him to me! / have known him for thirty generations." What wonderful knowledge of the past was this!

The first impression I got of Sal Baba was from his eyes. They pierced me through and through. And his image as seated at the Chavadi has left an indelible impression on my heart. As for the inner experiences they gradually grew upon me. First, I fell in with the current and did my Seva (i.e., service) to Baba and attended the Aratis, etc. At an Aratl, in my early visit Sai Baba was in a towering passion. He fumed, cursed and threatened for no visible cause. I doubted if he was a mad man. That was a passing thought. The Arati was completed in the usual way. In the afternoon (of that day), I went and massaged his feet and legs. Then he stroked my head and said "/ am not mad". Lo! He is seeing my heart. Nothing is concealed from Him. He is my Antar-yami-the inner Soul of my soul," I thought. Thenceforward, numerous instances occurred in my own experience of his Antaryamitwa. When he talked, he spoke as one seated in my heart knowing all its thoughts, all its wishes, etc. This is God within. I had no hesitation in deciding that he was god. I tested him at times. Each test produced the same conviction that he was all knowing, all seeing and able to mould all things to his will. A few instances out of hundreds may be cited here which showed that nothing was beyond Him or concealed from Him, in the past, present and future.

In 1913, Baba told me that my father-in-low would build a Dagdiwada,(le., a stone edifice) at Shirdi and that / would be in charge of it It was only in 1915-16 that my father-in-law began to build it, (i.e., the building in which Baba's tomb is erected) and it was after 1918-19,1 was one of the Trustees in charge of that tomb.

My mother was anxious about my employment I was ever tossing from place to place and often had periods of un­employment. I was trained in England as a Geologist, Mining Engineer; and here in India I was on the look out for pros­pecting jobs advertised in the press and took up one Job after another finishing each in a short time. My first stay at Shirdi was only for three or four days and I then went back to Balaghat and Burma. After three months my work under B.O.C. ceased, and I went back to Nagpur and thence to Shirdi and stayed four months there with my wife and went back to Nagpur. Again as I got a letter from Madhava Rao that Baba wanted me, I went to Shirdi alone and stayed thir­teen months. I was without employment and I did not care. Sometimes, I had stray fancies that a fakir's life was good for me.

It was a day in 1914. Baba had got ready a number of Kupnis (somewhat like gowns or togas which are worn by fakirs) and presented a number of people with them. I was watching the distribution from a distance and hoped that one might be conferred on me-to be kept with me and worn on special occasions, e.g., Bhajans in honour of Sal Baba. Baba stopped distribution even when many Kupnis still remained with him. He beckoned to me a little later and placing his hand kindly on my head stroked it and said "Do not blame me for not giving you a kupni That Fakir (meaning evidently God) has not permitted me to give you one."

My relations were asking Baba what was to become of me, seeing that I had such an unsettled course of life. My mother also saw that I went up to distant places like Calcutta and Burma for prospecting jobs and prayed to Baba that I should be provided by his grace with good employment nearer home or Shirdi. Baba answered and told them "/ will settle him at Poona." I got sometimes a number of jobs at the same time and I had to choose. I went to Baba each time. relying wholly on his foresight and all seeing wisdom to guide me. I had as great a reliance on him as sucking babe on its mother. His choice was often times strange. When there was once a choice between Calcutta and (the more distant) Burma, he chose the latter. He always would say "Go to Burma and Poona or "go to such and such a place and Poona" adding Poona every time he made the selection. In 1916 I had to choose between an offer from Banares of a professorship and a prospecting job at Burma. Baba told me "Go to Burma and Poona". I always laughed within myself at the addition of Poona as I was a Mining Engineer and Poona held no prospects for me. Even in 1913 Baba was seeing my present permanent appointment as Professor of Geology and Chemistry in Poona which I have held since 1918. The entire future of my career was but present to him.

About 1916 I returned to Shirdi after a long spell of absence. I enquired, as soon as I arrived, who were doing what service to Baba. I was told Vaman Rao Patel, B-A..L.L.B. was doing the service of begging food in the village on befalf of Baba and I felt a bit jealous. "If that is so why should I not be given that work", I thought to myself, but said nothing. It was then Darshan time and I had no time to undress. I went in my full suit, boot, trousers, coat and hat, to Baba's Masjid. Baba was being asked three times permission to send Vaman Rao with begging bowl. Suddenly he pointed to me and said "Let this man go and beg for food with that bowl to-day". I went in full suit that day and begged. Later for four months I went begging at noon for Baba's sake i.e., for food for Baba in my ordinary costume. People could not understand why I was chosen for this office. But since I had that desire, Baba as my innermost soul, my Antaryami noticed it and gave me the opportunity of serving him in that way. This honour of begging for food on his behalf at noon time was reserved by Baba for very few.

It was in 1917 that the announcement was made that a Professor of Geology for the College of Engineering at Poona was wanted. I asked Baba if I should apply for the post. He said "yes' and I went to Poona to see all people concerned. It was a hard and uphill work, as the applicants for the post were many and were supported by various influential persons. After I left Shirdi. Baba inquired of the men there Where is Narke gone?" They told him " He has gone to Poona, to try for the appointment" "Allah will bless" was Baba's re­mark. He then asked whether I had any children and was informed that several were born but none survived (they died after a very short life). "Allah will bless" was again his re­mark. I secured the appointment in 1918 and was made permanent in 1919; and children bom to me since then are not short lived. I have four sons now. All these are evidently secured by Baba's grace.

So much can be easily said of Sai Baba by all - mere observers from outside. But he who judged of Baba by the outside alone would be greatly mistaken in his estimate. Baba was, of course, adapting himself to the capacity of people that resorted to him for help and protection. Most of them were superficial people- seeking mostly some material gain or advantage; and to them he did not reveal his inner nature. But when anyone capable of diving deeper came to him he revealed more of himself and his powers. I was keenly observing him from the first and he noticed it and encouraged my habit of observing and judging - complimenting me as "Hushiar" or clever". On occasions he told me "what a 'Dubya', Le., sluggard you are" - evidently referring to my failure to penetrate beneath the surface of things on those occasions. Baba was not the man to stifle legitimate inquiry. Everything he did or said was full of significance; mostly I could understand them.

To one deeply observing him; the startling fact came out into greater and greater prominence that Baba was living and operating in other worlds also, besides this world and in an invisible body. Remarks made by him openly would be treated as meaningless ranting by those who did not know him. His language also was highly cryptic - full of symbology, parable, allegory and metaphor. Literal interpretations of them would be made by superficial people - who would then conclude that Baba was a wordly man amongst worldly men and a very avaricious man at that. For instance, a man came to Baba and watched him for a time; and I asked him what impression he formed of Baba. His answer was "I never saw any saint talking of money all the hours of the day" and he felt disappointed. This man did not know that "Paisa" - money, was used by Baba to denote Punya Apvrva or merit, very often. But on a careful observation and analysis of his talks, one must conclude that his nature, powers and func­tions were very great and that the way in which people would benefit by His guidance and help would also be peculiar.

4th june, 1936.

In 1914 or thereabouts, a rich old gentleman of Harda came with a lady to Shirdi. He was suffering from T.B, le., consumption. During the space of one month, there was no­ticeable improvements in his health. So he made Shirdi his residence. At the end of the second month, he grew worse and his end seemed to be approaching. One day the ladies of his house and their friends told me that his condition was critical and there was no senior male to go and ask Baba for help - and sent me to ask Baba for his Udhi. I went up. Baba told me that the man would be better for quitting this earth. "What can the Udhi do? Anyhow take the Udhi and give it as it is wanted" he said. So I took and gave the Udhi but, of course, refrained from intimating Baba's words to anyone. The condition grew worse. Then Shama, (Le., Madhavarao Deshpande) arrived and went to Baba and told him of the imminent death. Baba appears to have said "How can he die? In the morning he will come to life". This was taken to mean that the old man would not quit the earth. So they placed lamps all round the corpse and waited till noon. Life was not restored to the corpse. Funeral ceremonies followed. The Harda gentleman's relations thought that Baba had given false hopes and went away from Shirdi. For three years they did not return to Shirdi. Then one day, a relative of the deceased saw Baba in a dream, with the deceased's head over his own (i.e., Baba's) and Baba disclosed the lungs - in a rotten state, and said "From the torture of all this, I have saved him". Thereafter, he and his relations renewed their visits to Shirdi. Baba's words "How can he die? He will come to life" evidently referred to survival of human personalty and taking up new forms of life.

Baba was frequently talking of his travels with a"n In­visible body across great distances of space (and time). In the mornings, sitting near his dhuni (fire) with several devotees, he would say to what distant place he went overnight and

what he had done. Those who had slept by his side the whole night at the Masjid or Chavadi knew that his physical body was at Shirdi all the night. But his statements were literally true and were occasionally verified and found to be true. He had travelled to distant places in an invisible, i.e., spirit form and rendered help there. Again he would fre­quently talk of post mortem experiences.

A Shirdi Marwadi's boy fell ill and died. People re­turned from the funeral to the Masjid with 'gloomy faces. Sai Baba then said of that boy "He must be nearing the river now, just crossing if. I felt that the reference could only be to Vaitorini.

He told several people of the post lives and the events therein. He told me the facts of four previous lives of mine. He spoke this in the presence of others. But others did not and could not understand that it referred to me. He had the peculiar art of giving information to particular individuals in the midst of a group, in a way that they (those concerned) alone could understand, and not the other members of the group. Strangely enough, at one sitting by a few acts, words, etc., he could and did benefit numerous persons. This power to travel in invisible body to distant parts of this world, to traverse other realms than the earth life and note or control what takes place there and to see the past and future alike revealed one great fact about His nature. Some of his own observations also brought that out clearly.

Sai Baba occasionally asked (I heard it mysell) "Where are you? Where am I? Where is this world? Occasionally he declared, pointing to his body or touching it and referring to it as "this is my house", "I am not here. My Guru Mowrshad has taken me away". As even in the flesh - in this earth life, he was not confined to his physical body, it may be truly said of him "Sai Baba is alive. He is where he was then. Even then he was where he is now". He also made occasional reference to what his function is and was in the terrestrial sphere and other worlds. He several times referred to his control of destinies of departed souls - indicating thereby his function in the Cosmic order. Sai Baba never spoke untruth, never spoke meaningless jargon. But only those who were familiar with his ways could make out the meaning of what he said or did - when they were intended for their under­standing.

UPADESA, MANTRA, TANTRA, ETC.

Sai Baba never gave me any mantra, tantra or Upadesa - and so far as I know, he gave these to none. Madhavarao Deshpande has told me of the following incident,

Radhabal Desmukhin was at Shirdi waiting for a time on Baba and she wanted Upadesa. Finding that he gave her none, she started Satyagraha. She stopped taking food and was determined to be without food until Sai Baba should give her Upadesa. On the fourth day of the fast, Madhavarao taking pity on her condition went and told Sai Baba of it and requested him to pronounce the name of some God, so that she might take it as he mantropadesa for Japa. Baba then sent for her and told her that giving Upadesa was not in his line, that he following his Guru had different traditions, that his Guru was so powerful that he trembled to go and stand before him, and that the help given by the Guru was invisible and secret and not by oral instruction.

/ do not instruct through the ear.

Our traditions are different was what he said.

Sai Baba never[2] lectured, nor discoursed systemati­cally as others do. He gave hints - very pregnant hints. A word or a sentence or two at a time was all he cared to utter. But from them an observant devotee could build up his own system, lecture or philosophy. It is difficult therefore to be dogmatic if one is asked what are Sai Baba's aims, methods etc.? But stray hints were forthcoming.

AIM IN LIFE OR PURUSHARTHA

Did Sai Baba ask people to aim at Moksha? Did he advocate Viveka and Vairagya? Never have I heard that from his lips.

i.e.,

Reaching God is the aim.   That was the way he put

i.e.. Reaching God, Crossing or traversing all the Oceans and Worlds

Getting beyond chains (or limits).

He never (so far as I know) spoke of Maya (or the theory that all existence in the sublunary sphere is mere illusion) to my knowledge. He took the commonsense view that this world and the worlds beyond are real, and that we have to make the best of them, here and hereafter.

KARMA AND REINCARNATION

These were frequently referred to by him. "We must sow good (results) in this life and the next" was the truth that underlay many of the stories he told. He frequently referred to past lives of others and occasionally referred to the future life of some. No one moving with him could have even a momentary doubt about post mo; iem existence and the exis­tence of other worlds than this, wherein rewards and punish­ments for acts done here would be reaped. These are Hindu doctrines and beliefs. Coming to the question of Baba's Hin­duism or other religion - Baba never declared (so far as I know) whether be belongs to any religion, caste, creed, etc. He was above all. But he has mentioned and done several things showing his relation to Hinduism.

I have heard Sai Baba say my Guru is a Brahmin.

BABA'S ATTITUDE TO HINDUISM AND BRAHMINS

Baba had a great regard for the B.Gito, Bhawartha Ramayana, Eknath Bhagwata* Panchadashl Yoga Vasishta, the Puranas, etc. His talks had reference to the contents of these often. When Jnanadeva's Arati was begun, he would sit up, fold his hands joining his palms in front of his chest in token of reverence and close his eyes. About Panchadashi, he said to Mr.Khaparde (as I hear) This is our treasury, Le., it contains whatever is valuable for our spiritual welfare. I know personally his reverence for Yoga Vasishta. One day, in my early days (1914), Baba asked me several times to give him Rs.15 as Dakshina. I had no money and he knew that fully well. So when I was alone with him, I said "Baba, you know, I have no money and why do you ask me for Rs.15 Dakshina?" Baba answered that he knew my impe­cunious condition well enough. "But" he added "you are reading Yoga Vasishta now. The part you are now reading is specially important. Get me Rs.15 Dakshina from thaf. I was reading Yoga Vasishta. Getting money out of it was deriving valuable lessons therefrom; and giving the money to Baba meant of course lodging the lessons in my heart, where he stayed as my Antaryaml I also know that he held Rama and Krishna in great reverence,

BABA AND MAHARASHTRA SATPURUSHAS

Baba had great reverence for Saints like Jnanaeshwar, Tukaram. What were the aims, and the virtues needed for achieving them, in Sai Baba's view and what sadhanas did he favour?

OF THE FOUR MARGAS

I, Yoga Marga

Regarding this as chiefly based on (1) Asana (2) Pranayama (3) Concentration (4) Rousing the Kundalini and (5) Achieving higher powers thereby, en route, Sai Baba did not care for these. These were not the steps he recommended to any so far as I know. On the other hand, he said (I know personally), "Those who proceed by the method of Pranayama must come to me ultimately for further progress.

II. Karma Marga

Baba set the example of living amidst society and labouring to produce goods. He ground grain into flour. He was not for ascetic desertion of society, nor for begging. Though he himself begged within limits (prescribed by his Rinanubandha perhaps) it was for a little food only and when he demanded Dakshina that was for a number of reasons, chiefly clearing off Rinanubandha, He wanted the general run of visitors to continue their grihasta lives and did not advo­cate Sanyas, Le., that they should renounce society or go to beg. He made me and Vamanrao Beg, not for ourselves but only for the Guru - as humble service to the Guru. Though Baba did not say so, I think he realised the evil of begging, Le., indiscriminate begging, to be the loss of one's stored up merit, te., "Apurva". Sai Baba's demand for Dakshina was explained by him, when some one asked him why he asked for Dakshina "Hello, do I ask Dakshina of every one? I de­mand only from those whom the Fakir (God) points out to me". He demanded only particular sums, and would not accept anything more. None refused Dakshina, when he wanted it. Sometimes the demand had other meaning, e.g.,(I) get away, (2) get into contact with X,Y,Z etc.

III. Jnana Marga

            If this is taken as something confined to inquiry into the Self and an effort to understand the Upanishads and Brahmasutras to get light on that inquiry, that was not Baba's method and aim. His wish was not expressed. But by his example, his devotees should infer that he wanted them to become like himself. His knowledge and experience were, so far as I could see, real and realistic. His awareness ex­ceeded the bounds of our space and time - extended over all the worlds and embraced the distant past and future as well as the present. He knew, therefore, what existence in any of the worlds and at any time had to offer for the soul's enjoy­ment and with such knowledge he renounced all attachment. He was perfectly detached amidst numerous attractions. His life was, therefore, real Vairagya and real Nishkamya Karma which would lead one to God.

IV. Bhakti Marga

This is, of course, the main plank of most saints - as it is, of Sai Baba. Obeying, serving and loving God are its chief features. The peculiar feature stressed by Sal's example and words is the vast Importance of developing this devotion on the basis of devotion to one's guru or teacher. It is seeing God in, through and as the Guru, identifying the Guru with God.

BABA'S GURU

Of his guru, hardly anything is known. I have heard him saying ‘My Guru is a Brahmin. Baba held real Brafimins in high esteem. He has said "Brahmins earn much 'Pica', (Le., Punya, Apurva or merit) by their ways". A disciple is very different from a devotee. The Guru is con­nected by a close and intimate tie with and has every responsibility for the disciple.    He has no such close tie with a devotee and is not bound to bear all his sins and sorrows. Sai Baba had no disciple.  The disciple must serve his master to c^rry out all his wishes strictly and to the letter.   As Sai said, "I would tremble to come into the presence of my Guru". There was no one prepared to serve him in that way at Shirdi, It seems he asked "Who dares to call himself my disciple? Who can serve me adequately and satisfactorily?"   But, of devotees. Sal Baba had a large number.    These he looked after, encouraged and protected and gave by example and occasional gestures, directions etc., some instruction.    Sai Baba's method of teaching or rather improving the devotee who came to him was not oral instruction.   His moral tales and  a few directions,  occasionally given were,  no doubt, teaching through the ear.   But these were exceptional and their effect was very little compared with his main traditional method.   According to Sat Baba's traditions, the disciple or devotee that comes to the feet of the Guru in complete self-surrender has to be no doubt pure, chaste and virtuous.  But he need not necessarily to go on with any active practice of Japa or meditation.   On the other hand, Japa, meditation or any other intellectual process which carries with it the con­sciousness and assertion, "I am doing this" is a handicap. All sense of the devotees' or disciples' Ahankara, Ego or little self has to be wiped out, swept out of the memory and mind - as it is an obstruction to the Guru's task.    The Guru does not teach.   He radiates influence.   That influence is poured in and absorbed with full benefit by the soul which has com­pletely surrendered itself, blotting out the self, but is ob­structed by the exercise of intelligence by reliance on self exertion and by every species of self-consciousness and self-assertion.

This great truth, all observant persons visiting Sai Baba, would have noticed or learnt.    Sai Baba's words to some devotees were "be by me and keep quiet.   I will do the rest", Le., secretly or invisibly.   Of course, Faith in his is a pre-requlsite.   But one had merely to see him and stay by him a while and at once was endowed with faith.   Baba gave experience to each devotee - experience of Baba's vast powers of his looking into the heart, into the distant regions of space and time, past or future and then and there infused faith.

One had not merely to swallow everything on trust. The solid benefit, temporal or spiritual reaped by the devotee and his feeling that he is under the eye and power of Baba always wherever he may go and whatever he may do, give him an ineradicable basis for his further spiritual and temporal guid­ance. Baba's is the power that controls this world's goods and our fate here and now - as well as our experience and fate in the future In this world and many unseen worlds -unseen at present. -

So the duty of a devotee or an aspirant is only (1) to keep himself fit for this Guru's grace Le,, chaste, pure, simple and virtuous, and (2) to look trustfully and sincerely and to raise him to various experiences, higher and higher in range, till at last he is taken to the distant goal whatever that might be. "One step enough for me" is the proper attitude now. He need not take trouble to decide complicated, metaphysical and philosophical problems about ultimate destiny. He is yet ill prepared to solve them. The Guru will lift him, endow him with higher powers, vaster knowledge and increasing realisa­tion of truth. And the end Is safe in the Guru's hands.

All this was not uttered uy Sai Baba, at one breadth to me or within my hearing. But the various hints I got from his example and dealings with many and his occasional words -when put together amount to this. And commonsense points in the same direction. In my opinion, mere talk of Viveka and Vairagya without power of knowing what there is to experi­ence or enjoy and what the things are that one is to renounce is childish and leads to self-delusion and deluding others. It Is bookish wisdom and not real, not one that can stand the strain of actual life. People talking merely of these, without power to be really filled with them prove hypocrites. When Baba said, 'I am in each dog, pig and cat', he was feeling himself In the inside of the cats etc., in question and could state what they felt and what treatment they got. But others say it because it is found in the Gita, etc., and they believe it to be true. But in point of feeling and realisation, they say what they do not feel. This leads to hypocrisy.

Baba's real nature and greatness are seen from an incident known to me. I realised that Baba was God from the devotees' point of view, and yet, a man seen in the flesh and with limitations to which an individual embodied soul is sub­ject. The two co-exist and are both true - each in its way. But my friends (Le., some of the devotees) at Shirdl did not agree with me or relish this view of mine. They once talked of 6 crores of islanders in Dwaraka at Shree Krishnas' time and I then disputed that estimate of the population, as now we are about 33 crores in all in India and India is so overpopu-lated that we have to tread on each other's heels. Then they asked me if I would agree to abide by Baba's decision on the matter. I agreed. We all went to Baba.

Madhava Rao and other devotees asked Baba - Baba, are the Puranas true?

Sai Baba:        Yes, True.

Devotees:        What about Rama and Krishna?

Sal Baba: They were great souls. Gods they were. Avatars.

Devotees: This Narke will not accept all that. He says you are not God.

Sai Baba: What he says is true. But I am your father and you should not speak like that. You have to get your benefit and everything from me.

Sai Baba thus admitted his limitation. He was God no doubt, in the experience of the devotee. But because the devotee felt that, Sai Baba did not assert himself to be, in fact, nothing but God; he did not draw logical corollaries from it, nor use that position to help himself to the wealth etc., of the devotees. Sai fJaLa did not use the fact of his devotees viewing him as God to declare for Antinomianism, Le., setting himself up as above law. On the other hand, Sai Baba never disobeyed either the moral law or the law as it prevails in the country. He was never indecent in dress or behaviour and was very reserved with women.

SAI BABA'S MOODS

No doubt, in certain ecstatic moods, he said (and I heard this myself)^' I am God. But this was once in a way. His usual - almost invariable - role was that of a devotee of God entrusted with vast powers to carry out what God (the "Fakir") directs. "Allah MaltkT. God is the master. "Allah Bhale Karenga", "God will bless" were constantly on his lips. Also, I am God's slave. I remember God, etc.

BABA AND THE SEX QUESTION

Baba's was Askhallta Brahmacharya and his glitter­ing eyes spoke it out. He kept women at a distance. During the day, a very few women were allowed to massage his legs -and that only up to the knee. He was always clad and never indecently exposed himself.

BABA'S VIRTUES

He was impartial and just. I have seen rich and highly placed persons going to him, being practically ignored by him - as he saw through the outside, into the real nature, or the heart of the person approaching him. I have also seen him pay great regard to and speak enthusiastically of some poor man that came to him, saying "He has much money" ("Pica") Le., much of punua accumulated.

STERN JUSTICE

A saint should not be judged by the character of those that gathered round him. Prostitutes, women hunters, avari­cious people and sinners of various sorts came to him with a view mostly to gain material advantage. But when they failed to take advantage of his presence to improve themselves but fell into sins, he let them suffer. His justice was severe. "You have to cut your own child, if it falls athwart the womb" he has said. Baba's Boldness based on "Foreknowledge" or "Perfect Vision" - Baba was bold in his dealings with persons, with the forces of disease, etc. unknown to us but evidently well-known to him. He occasionally infused faith in his devo­tees by such bold defiance of sanitary precautions. I will mention some instances known to me.

Baba used to get sweetmeat from a Halwayi for Naivedya. One day in 1916, he lay a corpse, a plague stricken corpse. Plague was raging at Shirdi. Baba asked me to go and get the sweetmeat from his shop. I went and told the wife (who was weeping) of Baba's order. She pointed to the corpse and said that I might take the sweetmeat from the almairah. I took it, trembling with the fear that by this I might catch the infection and others too. That was given as ‘Naivedy’. Baba told me, "You think you will live if you are away from Shirdi, and that you would die, if you stay at Shirdi. That is not so. Whosoever is (destined) to be struck, will be struck; whosoever is to die will die; whosoever is to be caressed will be caressed". He encouraged me similarly when cholera raged in Shirdi. He had lepers around him who massaged his legs. Ont of them got cured. Baba made a leper take the dhuni and gave It as prasad to the devotees. The udhl is put into the mouth of sick people. And the leper gave it to all by Baba's order! Yet no harm has resulted so far as I know.

III

16th October, 1936, Nasik

& 28th October, 1936, Shirdi

rao bahadur s.b.dhumal, B.A., LL.B, Pleader, Brahmin, aged 63, Nasik, says:

! have one great difficulty in answering the question "What are your experiences of Sal Baba?"   All hours of day and night, 1 am having experiences of Baba.    There is no incident or event in my life which I do not connect with him -however trivial it may appear to be.    I firmly believe that everything in my life is swayed by Baba.   What then is to be mentioned as my experience?   Of course, the outside world will not be ready to accept my belief as correct or well-founded.   But that, matters nothing to me.   In fact, that very disbelief of people seems to be a reason for refusing to dis­close one's experience.   Every devotee feels that his experi­ences are his own, and are given to him for his own spiritual and temporal benefit and not for ventilation or publication to the general public which, of course, includes masses of Igno­rant, irrelevant carping critics and scoffers.   Yet ardent biog­raphers are anxious to ferret out one's innermost secret and sacred experiences to embellish their work.   But the devotee whom they delve into feels that in the very act of dragging the secret experience into light, its reality and life are destroyed. The anatomist anxious to examine the living organism inch by inch cuts out what he wants and places it under his microscope, but in that very act, life is destroyed and what he examines with his instrument is dead tissue and not the living organism. The best way of understanding Baba is to experience him oneself. Where is Baba gone? He is still alive and active - more active, if that were possible, than he was before his Mahasamadhi. Anyone In downright earnest can get Into touch with him, to-day and at once. But if one will not do that, but wants experiences, second hand, third hand or even fifth hand, he will get but poor stuff. I feel also very strongly the regrettable facts that experiences which get their significance and full force when expressed in our ver­nacular are to be now expressed to you and by you in English and that the loss in transition will be serious.[3]

Anyhow as you want some facts about Baba I shall narrate some that I can personally vouch for le., about my­self chiefly.

I was first (in 1903) devoted to Gajanan Maharaj whom I took to Srimant Gopal Rao Buti. About 1907 I went to Sai Baba. From my very first visit, I was greatly impressed with his extraordinary personality. At his unspoken com­mand, I took Buti to him and at once Buti also became his devoted follower. Among the services of the latter to Baba, perhaps the most momentous and memorable is his allowing his huge stone-pile (Dagdiwada) to be used as the temple for the reception of the mortal remains and the worship of Baba. It Is difficult to sort out my recollections of Baba, as I con­sider that every act of mine and every event In my life is moulded and directed by him. I may quote some sayings and acts of His which throw light on what Sai Baba is, has done, and is doing for devotees (like me).

Once Baba told me "At every step of yours, I am taking care of you. If I did not, what will become of you, God knows". This was no overstatement. At another time, when we two were alone, Baba told me "Bhau, the whole of last night, I had no sleep".

I: Baba. why so?

Baba: 1 was thinking and thinking of you, all the night.

At this declaration, I was overpowered by a sudden gush of love, gratitude, surprise etc. feelings which could find no other expression than a free flow of tears. What intense love he had for me! What an amount of trouble he took for my sake! Just as I was always thinking of him, he was kind enough to think of me - with this difference. My thought of him, though loving, was weak, and I could render him no real service. But his love was accompanied by such vast insight and such power that I was helped in every act and event. He could and did foresee things far ahead ai-d took every re­quired step to avert the evil and accelerate or promote the good that was coming to me. There are numerous instances that may be cited to show this. Outsiders may not be con­vinced that every such benefit derived by me was and is due to his guidance and ordering. But some instances of his help are so glaring that any fair-minded inquirer who is open to conviction, will be immediately convinced of the truth of what has been stated by Baba and by me.

Emboldened by his love, I used to write to him and Sri Madhava Rao Deshpande would read my letters to him and communicate his replies to me. In some cases, even during his lifetime and in all cases after his Mahasamadhi (1918 X)ctober) I addressed my queries to him mentally or by prayerfully placing chits (or casting lots) before his portrait and I invariably got his answer showing me what was the correct and safe course for me to follow. I invariably followed his advice - however much it might run counter to "common-sense", "medical opinion", "rules of prudence" etc., and in­variably discovered that the path chosen for me by Baba was the safest and wisest.

HYGIENE, ETC.

I have lived in this ancestral house of mine in the main road of Nasik, all my life. When plague broke out and dead rats were found in the house, I wrote to Shirdi for Baba's direction before moving out and left the house as soon as I got his reply. As I am ever under his protection and doing nothing without his guidance, I felt perfectly safe in remaining in the house till I got his reply. He has said that at every step he was guiding me. I knew he was guiding me - I had implicit faith in the truth of his words. He knew every­thing that was happening or was to happen at Nasik or in any other place and would not allow any harm to befall me while I was placing this childlike trust in and reliance on him. Dur­ing all these twenty nine years of such reliance, there is not a single instance in which such protection failed or such trust found misplaced.

After receiving Baba's reply, I moved to a bungalow at Nasik.  But the same night a dead rat was found near the bed of my brother's son at the bungalow.   Again I sought Baba's advice by letter whether I should move away.   The reply was in the negative.   And contrary to the rules of prudence and wisdom of medical experts and laymen, I kept on living with my family at the bungalow.   No harm befell us.   Later, dead rats were found in the servants' quarters, in the houses, in the neighbournuod, and lastly, in the well from which alone we had drawn all our supply of water for drinking, cooking etc. At this. I wrote "at once to Baba for permission and in anticipation of its arrival which I considered as certain, I packed up all our things and carted them off to this our house in the Bazar Street.    I went to the house and was just trying to unlock the front door, when a postal letter from Shirdi was delivered to me. That conveyed Baba's reply to me, "why should we give up (Le.,change) our residence?"   I adopted this advice without question or demur and went back immediately to the infected bungalow and lived in it.   (As for water. I took the precaution of avoiding the well and getting all our water from the river Godavari)   This further apparently risky and foolhardy step of reoccupation did not result in any harm to us.  There were times during the Plague Season when there were  14 or 15 deaths per day due to plague in the town - and despite that fact. Baba bade us stay in the house in town and we were all safe.

Baba's kindness to me was not confined to temporal aff.iirs. ! lost my wife In 1909. I was anxious about her soul's welfare and was performing the monthly (Masik) ceremonies. Al tin- linn- when the sixth month's ceremony had lo be performed, Baba told me to perform it at Shirdi and promised to give my wife Sadgati, (Le., literally a good start for her soul's, further spiritual course).    I went to Shirdi accordingly and performed that Masik there.   Baba then asked me for Rs,15 dakshina and I gave it.   I have implicit faith in the truth of Baba's declarations and have had ample verification in mat­ters which admit of verification, which naturally fortifies my faith in his statements as to matters unseen and apparently incapable of verification.   I am sure my wife got Sadgati by Baba's grace.  Then, as I was in 1909 a vigorous and healthy lawyer, aged 36, without issue, the question of marrying a second  time  was frequently considered,   especially by my friends and well-wishers.  Among them was my father-in-law, Rao Bahadur Bapu Rao Dada Kinkhede, M.A., a pleader of Nagpur.   When I told him that I could never act without a direction from Baba, he took me to Shirdi and then went to Baba without me.   He came back v, five minutes and inti­mated to me that he could read Baba's negative reply from his eyes and told me not to many without Baba's express con­sent or order.   Of course, I never acted without Baba's con­sent. , Up-to-date, Baba has not made me marry and I have continued my life of "single blessedness".    Alike from the temporal  and   spiritual  view  point  Baba   has   settled   this course for me and after a fairly happy and successful tempo­ral life, Baba is developing in me a slow but sure detachment from the temporal comforts and I am surrendering myself to his guidance without the faintest fear for my future here or hereafter inspite of the fact that his ways are mysterious, highly puzzling and really inscrutable in many matters.    As for temporal success, it is not vain glory but a desire to set down the actual truth that makes me inform you that almost invariably my professional efforts were crowned with success and from their financial or personal aspect also, I had noth­ing to complain of, as my income tax would clearly indicate. It was all due to Baba's help and grace.   Yet despite all this temporal success, he keeps me free - more and more free, from worldly shackles and ready for retirement when he gives the signal.

I had some public activities also which I took up with Baba's permission and in which his miraculous intervention and help were occasionally seen. Some instances appear so incredible that I first hesitated to reveal them. But it matters nothing to me whether they command other people's belief or not. As you want the truth, here is the truth as known to or experienced by me.

I will give instances of Baba's help in professional matters first and then proceed to his help in public matters. Some 20 or 25 years ago, there was a Criminal Case from Shirdi. There have always been party feeling and factions at Shirdi as in most villages. One Raghu, a servitor of Baba and five others were arrested on a charge of outraging the mod­esty of a Mi,, wadi woman and on the direct evidence of "num­ber of eye-witnesses", were convicted and sentenced to six months pr less of imprisonment. Tatya Patel Khote's sympa­thies and help were on the side of the accused. He took up a copy of the judgement ana papers to eminent lawyers like the Hon.G.S.Khaparde and H.S.Dixit and retired Magistrates like Rao Bahadur H.V.Sathe, who were at Shirdi. These found the judgement was strong and gave little hope of success in case an appeal should be filed. Tatya Patel was keen on an acquit­tal and went to Baba, who simply told him, "Go to Bhau with the papers". He accordingly came to Nasik and showed me the papers. After going through the judgement and finding hardly any hope of success on appeal, I told Tatya to employ eminent Counsel from Bombay or prominent lawyers at Ah-madnagar where the appeal had to be filed. But he told me that Baba's order was to go to me and so I felt I had neither option nor responsibility on my shoulders. I wrote out an appeal memo, after studying the papers and took it to the District Magistrate at his residence. He asked me - without receiving or reading the judgement or appeal memo what the matter was about and I very briefly recited that it was a conviction of six appellants for outraging the modesty of a woman based on the testimony of a number of witnesses, who professed to have seen it and that the case had now come up in appeal to him. Then he said it looked like a strong case and asked me what I thought of it. I said that the case and its number of witnesses were due to faction in the village. "Do you think so?" he asked and I replied Think! I am more than sure of it". He pronounced judgement at once, orally acquitting all the appellants and immediately took up my appeal memo and wrote on it his judgement mentioning the facts I relied upon. As soon as this was over he asked me "How is your Sai Baba of Shirdi? Is he a Moslem or a Hindu? What does he teach you?"    I answered that Sai Baba was neither a Hindu nor a Moslem but above   both and that I could not state what his teachings were - to know which, he must go in person to Baba at Shirdi.   The Magistrate prom­ised to go and in fact tried one summer day to visit Shirdi but gave up the idea at Kopergaon, on account of the excessive heat.   The prompt oral judgement without reading or receiv­ing any papers (of course without sending for the records of the First Court or giving notice to the Police or Public Prose­cutor) followed up by questions about Sai Baba were clear indications of the power that brought about the acquittal. What followed would confirm this view.   I returned from Ah-madnagar to Shirdi.   There, on that day, the residents were sadly going to attend the cremation of H.S.Dixit's daughter. But Baba called some of them to him at the Masjid and said, "Do not go away,    I will show you some Chamatkar, (Le., miracle).   They did not see any miracle and went away to attend the funeral. Shortly, thereafter, I returned from Ah-madnagar with news of the acquittal by the District Magis­trate in the above fashion.   Then they found what the Cha-matkar referred to by Baba was.

I shall give only one more instance in matters profes­sional.   There was a charge against and conviction of three brothers for grievous hurt in as much as they had attacked their opponents and broken a bone of one of them.    The injured man had been attended to by a medical man, who was not a qualified or certified Doctor and treated for over twenty days in his private hospital.   I was engaged for the appellants and I went up with the appeal memo and a bail application. The Sessions Judge, who was a senior European Officer remarked on hearing my application that the case was strong (against the appellants) and he was not going to allow bail.  I at once thought of Baba and then turned to the Judge. I told him that the evidence of a bone being broken was that of a "quack" or unqualified person and that the prosecution evidence was interested and unreliable and that as all three appellants, who were agriculturists, were in jail, the agricul­tural work of their family could not be carried on, that in case their sentence should be confirmed, they could be sent to jail finally etc. At once the Judge allowed bail. When the case came up for argument, the Public Prosecutor asked me if I was going to argue on the merits for an acquittal against such a strong judgement, or whether I would briefly ask for clemency, in which latter case he would not oppose. Though I felt the strength of the judgement, I put on a brave face and said that I would go the whole hog and fight for an acquittal. I did argue for a reversal before the Judge but wound up with a prayer for reduction of sentence. The Judge retorted that if I was merely asking for mercy of the court I need not have taken so much time to contest the conviction. When the Public Prosecutor was arguing, the Judge wanted to know how he made out a case of grievous hurt as the opinion of an unqualified man, a quack could not be accepted as to the breakage of a bone. The reply was that the injured man had been in the Hospital for over 20 days. The Judge sharply answered, "That is an argument which you can advance be­fore a 3rd Class Magistrate, Remember you are arguing be­fore a Sessions Judge and not before a 3rd Class Magistrate". On receiving this snub, the Public Prosecutor collapsed; there was no further argument and the appellants were acquitted.

Regarding public work, I may first mention that I was the first Non-Official President of the Nasik District Local Board (nominated by Government) and that I served in that capacity from 1-11-1917 to 13-5-25. I had personally to sign thousands of papers myself without the use of a facsimile seal - a proceeding which took many hours of my day; and one consequence of this heavy public work was to ruin my legal practice and reduce my income-tax from 260 odd rupees to zero - in recognition of which sacrifice, this Sanad of Rao Bahadur was granted to me in 1927 - a very poor and unsub­stantial recognition you may say - but it is still some form of recognition. Anyhow I faced the work and went on trusting in Baba for the proper execution of my office. A peon had to carry these papers to me and blot each signature and after some hours the work would be over and the papers sent back to the office. One day, when the papers were before me, a visitor for whom I had much regard came in and stayed talk­ing with me till midnight and so the signatures had to be postponed till the next day. The next morning, I found no time and as I was leaving the town, I sent back the papers to the office. When I returned to the town that night. I found only that day's papers brought for my signature and when I wanted the previous day's papers, I found that they all bore my signature. The peon had been sent away for his meal, the previous midnight and how the thousands of signatures had been affixed to the papers I could not guess. I have no other explanation for it, except Baba and his superhuman powers.

Another public act of mine in which Baba's helping hand is traceable is this.  As President, District Local Board, Primary Schools were under me.    Deepawali holidays had fallen immediately after the close of the month.   The Educa­tional Inspector a Mohammedan gentleman, one day came to me and asked me to make disbursements to help the teachers in such a big festival.   At first I did not consider his request seriously.   Two or three days after, he again reminded me of his proposal.  I asked the Chief Officer whether this could be done.   He answered in the negative as sanction of Govern­ment grant was not received and that Account Office in­formed my office not to issue cheque in the absence of sanc­tion. I was helpless. Again the Educational Inspector opened the subject to me.   I was inclined to agree but wanted Baba's permission.   I cast lots and Baba approved disbursement.   I at once issued cheque and sent the same to the Account Office, with the result that it was cashed, payments made and all the teachers were pleased.  But what was to happen to me for brushing aside the Accountant's objection and issuing the cheque?  By Baba's grace, it was nothing more than an audit objection raised long after the event and communicated to me and my reply to it or endorsement thereon was "noted for future guidance". There the matter ended.

Amidst the innumerable instances of Baba's help to me at every turn or crisis of my life I may select a few. In 1910, my intimate friend, Srimant Gopal Rao Buti, was anx­ious to help me. He agreed to lend me the necessary sums to maintain me in England for my study at the Bar and my family in India during my absence. We had settled in full detail all parts of this scheme and went to Baba for his ap­proval. When Madhav Rao Deshpande put him the question "Should not Bhav {i.e.f myself) be sent to Vilayat (Le., Eng­land)?" Baba asked "What for?"

M.Deshpande :   To study for the Bar.

:   No. His Illayat (natural aptitude) and Vilayat (will of heaven) are not in Bilayat, but in this country. Why should he go to England? I realised then that,

The best laid schemes of mice and men Do often gang agley".

In 1912, I underwent an operation in J.J. Hospital under chloroform. It was a serious venture. But I saw Baba seated on a chair at my head, close to the operation table before the chloroform began to operate. He was there to look after me and I felt reassured. The operation was, in fact, safely performed and was a success. In 1915, 1 was offered the Public Prosecutorsnip at Nasik but I took two days' time to consider and wrote at once to Baba. Quickly came the reply "Your former work is good. Do not accept the new" and I declined the offer.

In 1918, a few days before Baba passed away, influ­enza was raging at Shirdi at Poona and many other places. At Poona my brother's wife had a very serious attack and he wired to me about it to Nasik. So I started at once with Rs.80 in my pocket to cover expenses of the journey and to meet all contingencies. I halted en route at Shirdi to get Baba's bless­ings and Udhi for the patient. When I went to him, Baba took from me dakshina repeatedly and the Rs.80 or the balance thereof was cleared off my hand in no time. This was no good augury of my trip to Poona being achieved or made useful to the patient. When I craved leave to go, Baba said in his characteristic fashion (reminding one of the form of the Regal Veto "The King will consider") — i.e., we shall see (what to do) tomorrow. He stopped me for three days. Meanwhile, a wire from Poona announced that the patient had expired. After that Baba gave me leave to go away. It was clear that Baba saw what was happening and to happen to my sister-in-law and judged it best for her to depart from the world and me to reach Poona some days after her departure. His rea­sons for such judgement, I could not discover. But surely he was in a position to judge and I was not. So I meekly ac­cepted his decision as final, as usual. This was shortly before he himself passed away and he gave me on the above occasion the last opportunity of spending a few days with him while he was in the flesh. By Baba's grace, I soon recovered some part of my former financial position after it was wrecked by District Local Board President ship or by acceptance of other office.

I was holding the office of Revenue Member of the Dewar  State  from   1-9-1930  to  9-4-1932  and  I was  the Karbhari of the Surgana State from end of 1932 to August 1933.   Each time I returned to Nasik, I resumed my practice and got 011 as well as I did before, without having to wait idly even for a day.   Baba's kind help on the financial side was manifested in a peculiar incident while I was in the latter State.   One day I was seated at my meal and the Chief of the that State walked into my room.   I apologized for my inability to leave the table and accord him a proper reception or even to offer him a fitting chair or seat.  But he quickly walked into the next room, gazed a while at the portrait of Sai Baba that was hanging on the wall and returned to my dining room.  He at once announced to me that from that time, I should have an increase of Rs.50 in my salary.  I had never asked for this increase.   This grant of an increase in salary within a fortnight of my appointment and without any motion on my part can only be explained by having been with Baba in my Pooja room.  I had not asked for the increase.   Baba evidently had, the   child's   welfare   is   the mother's care.

As for my pooja, I may mention that I had first the photos of Baba and later the coloured or painted portraits of Baba for worship. I carried these pictures whenever I went. When I was tossing between Dewar and Nasik several times, first my cook at Dewar and later my nephew at Nasik wanted them or some of them to be left behind. Each time I cast lots before Baba, to ascertain his wish and each time came the answer that I should carry them with me. The middle portrait which I constrained Radhakrishna Ayi to part with I specially like. In it, Baba is standing in a pensive or meditative mood. It reminds me of that important occasion when he made the disclosure "Bhav, I had no sleep all night due to thinking and thinking of you", I was passing by the side of the Masjid with that picture in my hands from Ayi's residence. Baba called me and I went into the Masjid.   Pointing to the portrait, he asked.

Baba    :   What is this?

I :   You are here.

Baba   :   Give it to me.

I gave it to him. He kept it a while, gazed at its front side and back side and returned it to me, saying "keep it". This is the very thing .my heart was desiring, to get Baba's portrait, touched by him and given to me for purposes of worship. This now a personal gift by Baba to me and I regard it with great veneration.

Baba gave me other articles to be kept safe and sacred. On the first occasion he took Rs.2 from me as a dakshina and returned it saying, "Preserve this carefully. Do not part with it to any one - nor spend it". With the same direction, he gave me again Rs.2 on another occasion, Rs.20, Rs. 15 and Rs.30 on other occasions - making a sum of Rs.69 which I preserve very carefully, not merely as momentos of Baba's loving care for me but as charmed coins that carry luck with them. Each of these gifts was characteristic of Baba. When I and G.Buty were present, Baba asked the latter for Rs.20 dakshina and when he gave it, Baba transferred it to me. On other occasions he gave me sums totaling Rs.30. On another occasion he asked for and got Rs.30 from Bury and sharing it between his palms sud­denly divided it into two parts and held each in one hand. He gave the contents of one hand to Buti and one to me. We went to our quarters and counted our sums. To our surprise, we found each got exactly Rs. 15. The true lover gives and re-ceives Baba's love took moneys from me. I gave them gladly. These dakshinas are often found to con­vey an allegorical esoteric meaning which the circumstances or accompanying remarks throw light upon.

Baba has at times reduced his devotees on their visit to an absolutely penniless condition, by taking away all the^ cash with them, on the possession of which they had been relying. He has frequently reduced me also to this condition. I have, however, enter­tained neither regret at parting with the last pie nor fear. For, it is He who gives and He who takes back what he has given.

It is up to him to provide us with ways and means when he denudes us of every bit of cash. And he has never failed to provide. As instances, besides the eighty rupees incident of 1918 that I mentioned above, I can cite others. It will, how­ever, suffice to give two more instances. Some time prior to the above incident when I went to him, he by repeated re­quests for dakshina took away all I had. Then again he asked me "Bhav, give me Rs.7". I explained that I had nothing left with me. He then told me to get it from some one. This was valuable lesson to me in humility. I must not consider myself too high to beg or borrow. In fact, this lesson was so forcibly brought home to me when I visited Shirdi, after he attained Mahasamadhi, that I went round to beg for bread in the places where Baba used to beg for his bread. By such means, his grace has kept down my pride and egoism which other­wise would soar so high as to avoid contact with the so-called "lower strata" of society.

On another occasion after depleting my resources, Baba asked me for Rs.50. And when I told him I had no cash left, he made me go round and ask some person, who gave me a negative reply. Then he made me go to Rao Bahadur Sathe, who rejoiced at the request being made to him. The signifi­cance of my going to the latter for Rs.50 was not explained to me then. But much later I was told that at that time, Rao Bahadur's claim for pension was being considered; the matter in doubt was whether it should be a lower amount as first calculated on the last permanent appointment or an amount higher by Rs.50 being based on a calculation his sub protem appointment. He succeeded in gaining his higher pension and Baba's direction that I should go to him for Rs.50 was indicative of his success and the date of the order was the date of Baba's demand for Rs.50.

On the occasion of the "Chamatkar" criminal appeal, the appellants without any demand from me paid me a fee of Rs.300. Baba, during my stay of three days on my return from Ahmadnagar, took away exactly that sum from me, by repeated requests for dakshina. It was most fitting and proper that there should be no receipt of consideration by me for defending my own Guru's servitor and at his behest -especially, when I had really done no work and when the entire success was due to his miraculous control over the District Magistrate's mind. In closing this brief account of my personal experience, I may quote a few of Baba's spiritual teachings or declarations.

He once made a remark which would intensify and strengthen our faith in Him and give us some clue to his real nature. To some one who was talking of God, he said "Why do you say 'God', 'God?' God is in my pocket?" As to God's dual or multiple function, (suggested for instance by the Trimurtnis welded into one as Datta or Brahman) he once made a pregnant remark. With his usual lavish generosity coupled with personal humility he was one day preparing his Handi, himself cooking food for hundreds and freely feed­ing the poor and all that wanted the food, with his own per­sonal labour. While the Handi was being boiled, a Fakir came, who was particularly keen on getting animal food and he put some flesh into the Handi. As Baba was going on with his cooking, Balasaheb Mirikar evidently disgusted with the transformation of an Innocel :. vegetarian Bhandar to all into a special dinner for those who loved to feast by killing ani­mals for filling their stomachs, asked Baba "Why all this Himsa, le., cruelty to other creatures for feeding ourselves?" Baba then answered cryptically i.e., literally, "He that slays saves; He that saves slays". This apart from its implied or express reference to the tripartite functions of the God that creates, maintains and withdraws or destroys might be deemed more particularly to : refer to the special function of Sat Purushas like Sai Baba, who bless one with Sadgati when that one (human or subhu­man creatures) dies or is killed at their feet or in their prox­imity.

I may close this account with two incidents from the life of the Late Mr.H.S.Dixit personally communicated by him to me. Mr.Dixit was literally getting embarrassed in his fi­nancial arrangements. On one occasion he found that a sum of Rs. 30.000 was due four days later and he was troubled about the question wherefrom and how he was to get the money. That night he dreamt of the creditor as tormenting him with his claim for the amount and he replied in the dream to the creditor in order to reassure him "Do not fear that your amount will not be duly repaid. I have my re­sources. I know Sri Chimanlal, Sir X and Sir Y. So do not fear.     Shortly thereafter he woke up and remembered the dream.  He was aghast at his own ungrateful folly and stupid­ity in relying on the poor human support of Sir X, Sir Y and Sir Z who would probably disappoint one at the critical mo­ment and leave him in the lurch and his failing to recognize that his only and true sheet-anchor or Providence was Sri Sai.   He wept at his folly and went before the portrait of Sai Baba and entreated him to pardon the folly. Thereafter he felt assured that Baba and Baba alone would help him.  It was up to Baba to save him and Baba would never fail a devotee at the hour of need.  Yet as the day and hour for payment were nearing, he could not discover any money forthcoming.   Just the day previous to the due date, while he was ruminating upon his affairs in his office, the son of his late intimate friend and banker called upon him and wanted his advice whether a sum of Rs.30,000 he had, should be invested in one way or in another.   Mr.Dixit explained to him difficulties in the proposed investments and added that if the investor was thinking of investing with Mr.Dixit himself, he would be the last person to take advantage of his intimacy with his father and accept the deposit.  Mr.Dixit frankly stated that in his embarrassed condition, he would not be able perhaps to return the deposit on the date fixed.    The visitor far from being deterred by such revelation insisted that the revealed facts were just his reason for insisting that Mr.Dixit should accept the deposit. The son would not be true to his father, if he failed to help him with an accommodation at the time of need.   In this view, he pressed the deposit on Mr.Dixit, who thereupon paid, his creditor at the due date.   Sai had shown himself capable of wielding tens of thousands of rupees and moulding peoples' wills and intentions to suit his scheme of helping his devotees.

Mr.Dixit's younger brother, Sadashiv, B.A., LL.B., tried his hand at practice at Nagpur, Bombay and Khandwa suc­cessively with disheartening results. Then H.S.Dixit cast lots before Baba, and with Baba's consent again took him to Bom­bay to work in his office. After a short time, the result seemed to be unsatisfactory. Mr. Sadashiv told his brother that he would go away. H.S.D. wondered how in spite of Baba's approval of Sadashiv's being taken to Bombay, the step should prove to be utterly futile. In any case, he thought, he would postpone his brother's return to Khandwa till after the approaching Deepavali holidays. During those days, things took a strange turn. A friend of Mr.H.S.Dixit came to him and said that the Cutch State required a highly reliable Officer for their Bank with a knowledge of Gujarati. At once Mr.H.S.Dixit asked him if Mr.Sadashiv would suit. The friend was very glad to have Sadashiv (whom he believed not to be available) and recommended him to the State. Thenceforward, Sadashiv, who was found a failure at Law in so many places, got appointed on a salary of Rs. 1,000 a month and held it for a long time. This upshot showed that Baba in allowing or directing his devotee to go to Bombay was seeing not merely the immediate and near future but more distant prospects and enduring benefits.

IV

13th September, 1936, THANA

SANTARAM BALWANT NACHNE DAHANUKAR, says : I have given parts of my experience already to Sai Lila Masik (vide Vol.1 (xii) 94). But as there was the feeling that it was a publication to all and sundry, I had expressed myself with considerable reserve and did not mention many features especially those that ordinary people would not credit. Now, I will try to recall, in spite of the long time that has lapsed, as much as I can and give you a fuller account and include in it my later experiences, Le., those which I have had after the above mentioned publication (in 1923).

In 1909, some events took place which at that time seemed to be little connected with Sai Baba. In that year, one "day my elder brother was undergoing an operation very near his throat in Bajekar's Hospital at Bombay; and we were all anxious about it. I was at Dahanu then and a Sadhu ap­proached and asked me if he could get a crumb or two of bread. We invited him inside and gave him a regular course of dishes, Le., a full meal. My sister-in-law was serving him all dishes; but she intentionally omitted at first to give him "Bendi Baji" Le., a dish made of lady's fingers - thinking that it was too poor a stuff to be given to a revered and saintly guest.    But the Sadhu himself called for Bendi Baji; and it was then served.   That Sadhu blessed us all and told us that the operation at the hospital that day had been safely per­formed.   The same day my friend, Haribhav Moreswar Panse told me that he hoped that the operation by the grace of Sri Sai Baba, would be a success.   That was the first mention of Sai Baba to me.    I had not then known of him.    Evidently Panse had.   Later in the evening , we learnt from my father who returned from the hospital that the operation had been performed and that there was no trouble or danger.  After the operation a Sadhu had appeared there and approaching the patient passed his hands over the operated part of the body, and said all would go on well.   The operation proved quite safe and my brother recovered.

The same year, my father attended Das Ganu's Kirtan, where'n Sai Baba was described as a veritable Avatar of Datta, as a remarkable person with wonderful powers and wonderful kindness.   We got a picture of Sai Baba and wor­shipped it with Udbatti (lighting scented sticks) at home.   In 1912 was my first visit to Shirdi.    I had appeared for my Revenue Subordinates Examination and before the results were announced, I went to Shirdi along with two friends, Sankar Balakrishna Vaidya and Achyuta Date.   On the way, we alighted at Kopergaon station.   There the Station Master learning of our intended visit to Sai Baba, aired his views rather freely and said that undue honour was being lavished upon and people were being gulled by one who was a mere   , hypnotist, like so many of these wandering jugglers and thau-maturgists all over the country.   This rude fusillade at Sai Baba unsettled my mind about him and I was beginning to doubt if, after all, it was a real saint we were taking so much trouble to visit. We reached Shirdi anyhow and saw Sai Baba returning from the Lendi. He must have evidently noticed my condition.  He looked at me, and at once, without having any information given to him as to who I was, etc. said "What? Have you come away without taking leave from the Mam-latdar"? I said "Yes".    Baba advised me and said  "Do not behave like this".   This removed all the doubts that the Sta­tion Master's thoughtless remarks had raised in my mind.   I felt I was before a saint who knew everything that happened in places far away from him.  We stayed three days at Shirdi on this occasion. Each day Baba's kindness and powers were manifested with greater frequency and force and the result was perfect assurance and confidence. I became a firm be­liever in and worshipper of Baba thenceforward.

Baba took Udhi from my hand and applied it to my forehead - a mark of favour and love that is not bestowed on all.    Again when people were assembling for Arati at the Masjid, and I was among them, Baba asked me to go and take my meal.   I said it was Ekadasi.   Usually I did not fast on Ekadasi days; but my two friends did and I had to conform to their ways  and not be  singular and claiming advantages which they did not share.  But Baba did not want me to fast. He said (referring to my companions) These people are mad. You had better go to the Wada and eat." The person who had to serve the food at the wada was grumbling that I should be clamouring for food on an Ekadasi day and would not give me food till Arati was over.  So he came to the Mosque and I also returned to the Mosque.   Baba again questioned me if I had messed but I said that it was time for Arati and so the meal might be deferred till the completion of the Arati.   But Baba 'insisted and said "The Arati will wait and will begin after you' finish your meal and come."  The hotel man had to yield and gave me food.   Then I went to the Mosque for the Arati.   At that time a lady generally known as "Mavusi" brought beda (le., rolled up betel and nut) to Baba.   Baba gave me some and asked me to eat.   As it is usual to avoid chewing betel and nut (which are considered as luxuries and for that and other reasons avoided on Ekadasi days) I hesitated.    Baba said again, "Eat it."   I obeyed and chewed the beda.   At the close of the Arati Baba took dakshina of Rs.4 from me and Rs.16 from Vaidya.   He did not ask Date for dakshina, as he was evidently not disposed to give it.    There was a young Marwadi girl that was hankering after fruit and asked Baba for "orange".   Baba by his own powers knew that Date had kept back some oranges at the wada and brought only the remainder to be offered at the Mosque and so asked Date to go and get the oranges.  But Date was assertive and said that the fruit was retained by him for "Faral", Le., his own light meal on the Ekadasi day.  He declined to part with it, despite Baba's request.  Baba did not press his request further.

During our stay, Baba revealed his interest in me and my family.   When H.S.Dixit, Job and Dabolkar were present, He hold them, I had been to this man's house" - and here he pointed to me "for a meal.   He did not give me Bendi Baji. My mind darted back at once to the Sadhu who in 1909 at the time of my brother's operation was dining with us. And I felt assured that in the form of one Sadhu or another, Baba was interested in our welfare and helping us even in 1909 unknown to ourselves.   Later, I told those gentlemen of the "Bendi Baji" which my sister-in-law had first failed to serve the Sadhu on that occasion.   That Sadhu appeared to be an entirely different man from Sai Baba.   I saw him also on the two or three days following the operation at Dahanu and had excellent opportunities of observing him at close quarters. He went away from Dahanu and was not seen again thereaf­ter.

Baba was declaring in 1912 to me that he was the same Sadhu or was in that Sadhu despite external differences in appearance, caste, etc.   That Sadhu was a Hindu; rather dark or brownish, and had a fairly long beard such as was never on Baba's chin. He looked more like you (B.V.N.Swami) than like Sai Baba.   I asked Baba about the result I would have in my examination.    He said "Allah Malik Hai' and placed his palm on my head.   I passed that ex­amination.   The impressions I received at this first visit were in danger of being blotted out on the last day.  That morning we found Baba was in tearing rage, at the Mosque - for no reason that any one could make out.  He was jumping about the floor of the Mosque.    His eyes were red and for fifteen minutes he kept every one in terror of him and none dared to approach him.    That made us doubt again if the Station Master's view that Baba was a mad man was not right after all.   At last, Baba cooled down and we approached him for leave to go away from Shirdi.  He gave us Udhi and leave.

In 1915 Baba gave me another blessings (unasked). I was then employed at Dahanu (Thana District). It is not easy to get a transfer from Mofussil service to Metropolis service. But Baba said in 1912 "Come to Bombay for service." In 1918 this prophecy or blessing had its fulfilment or effect by my being transferred to Bandra, Le., Bombay Suburban District. The breach of duty that Baba pointed out, viz., being absent from office without leave of my superior, the Mamlatdar, was noticed by the latter, Mr.B.V.Dev. But, providentially his order was merely that if I were to do so again I would be punished.

After this first visit I was going often times to Shirdi. On one occasion, {Le., in 1913) as I was starting, Haribhav M Panse met me. He had been convicted for misappropriation and sentenced to imprisonment but had been just then let out on bail pending his appeal. He was going up for the appeal which was to be heard that day or the next and he told me to entreat Sai Baba's aid on his behalf. "Tell him that I am in trouble and that I am innocent," he said. I went to Shirdi and before I could communicate the message, Baba himself spoke about it. It was at the early morning Arati (Kakada) at the Chavadi. Baba was in a very angry mood. He then told me, "Tell him that he need not have any anxiety and that he will be acquitted in the appeal." When I returned from Shirdi, I met Panse and told him of Baba's reply. At that time he informed me that he had indeed been acquitted. When I was at Shirdi, about this time, (Le., in 1913 or so) Baba made an observation that we should not trust men. This common place or truism appeared to have no reference to or signifi­cance for me. But what happened in 1914 showed that it was not a truism, but a warning to me.

I was Treasury Master in 1914 at Dahanu. I was engaged in my daily Pooja at home worshipping Sai Baba's photo, Gods, etc. One Ramakrishna Balawant Panse who was deranged in his intellect was standing at the door of the cuisine, a little distance from my worship room. He was thought to be rather harmless; and none minded him. Sud­denly the man flew at me and grasped my neck with both his arms and tried to bite my throat saying, "I will drink your blood". Instantaneously, with one hand I held the  strong metallic spoon (used for Pooja) and thrust that and my finger into his mouth. The spoon struck in his throat and the man was biting away my finger with his teeth. With the other hand I tried to extricate my neck from his hands. My mother also rushed in to help. Meanwhile I lost consciousness. Af­ter sometime and by some remedial applications I recovered consciousness; his nails had dug into the flesh of my neck and he had very nearly strangled me to death. The injury on my fingers also was healed. When next I went to Shirdi,

Baba  addressed Anna  Chinchnikar  and  said   (pointing to me):-

Anna, if I had delayed an instant, then this man would have indeed perished. The mad man had seized with his hands his very throat But I extricated him. What is to be done? If I do not save my own children, who else will?

On 31-3-1915 we had a very thrilling encounter.   My­self, Santaram Moreswar Panse and some others were trav­elling in a bullock cart at night in a dense jungle. We were at the Ranshet Pass.  It was known to be infected with tigers.  It was a dark night.   Suddenly our bulls took fright and were stepping backwards.   Luckily they were not driving the cart sideways.  In that narrow pass, if our cart had swerved a little to the side, cart, bulls and ourselves would have fallen down a steep ravine and perished.   Santaram showed me by point­ing his hand in front what the trouble was.   In front of our carriage we saw the gleaming eyes of a tiger on the road.   It was couchant and faced us.    Panse to save the cart from being pushed into the ravine wished to get down to place a big stone or stick as a brake to block the wheel going back and asked me to hold the reins of the bulls.  I held them and roared aloud "Hail Sai Baba: Run, Sri Sai Baba (to our aid)" Others also began to shout and the tiger got frightened and ran away passing by the side of our cart.   My faith in Baba and the courage he infused into me by making me call out his name thus saved the situation.

In 1915, after this, I started to go to Shirdi. At the station one V.S.Samant gave me a cocoanut with two annas to buy candy, etc., to be presented to Baba. I went and bowed to Baba and gave the coconut but forgot all about the two annas. When I asked Baba for leave to go. he said "Yes. Go via Chitali but why keep back a poor Brahmin's (Le.. my) two annas?" I was at once reminded by this hit and I gave him the two annas entrusted to me by Samant Again I prayed for leave and he said laughing, "You may go now. Whatever you undertake to do, do thoroughly, else do not undertake if

Once when I was at Shirdi, Sankar Rao (Balkrishna Vaidya) came there. Baba asked him for Rs.16 dakshina. He pleaded want of money. A little later, Baba asked him for Rs.32. Again he put forward the same plea. A little later Baba asked him for Rs.64. Then we told Baba we were not rich enough to pay such large sums. Then Baba said collect the amount and pay. This proved to be a prophecy. Some­time later, Baba fell ill. A sapthawas celebrated and it had to be followed by a grand feast to be given to all comers on a large scale. Moneys had to be collected. At the bidding of Dabolkar, Sankar Rao and I started with the hat in my hand. The collection then made by us totalled exactly Rs.64 and it was sent up.

I gave Baba's Udhi to Ravji Sakharam Vaidya to apply to his daughter "Moru" who was having "Plague" fever. It subsided. My father was something of a doctor. Parasuram Apaji Nachne, a Talati, had longstanding illness. My father and other medical men despaired of his recovery. But by vows and prayers to Baba and burning Udbatti before his picture with a perpetual ghee lamp he recovered his health. When I and S.B.Vaidya went to Baba in 1915, the later presented Silver padukas to Baba with a vie w to get them back again for his worship. But Baba presented them to me. I thought it but right that they should go to Vaidya and gave them to hjm. But on Madhava Rao Deshpande's intervention they were again transferred to me. Vaidya had another pair of silver padukas. Baba himself asked Vaidya for that pair and pre­sented that also to me, saying "Keep this and do Pooja". I said that was Vaidya's property and must go to him. Baba said "Keep it for the present, you can give it to him later." I Kept it then and later presented one pair to Vaidya.

Adhering to chronological order, I may mention one instance of Baba's justice and fair play; in which he plucked the feathers off Orthodox Intolerance. In May 1915, I went to Shirdi accompanied by my mother-in-law and others. We put up at the "Bathe Wada" (as it was then called, since then it has changed hands and become Navalkar Wada) and Dada Kelkar was living in part of the premises. When my mother-in-law was cutting onions for our meal, Dada Kelkar, an orthodox Brahmin, who abhorred onion got irritated and fell foul of her. She took his abuse very much to heart. A few hours later, Dada's grand-daughter was crying on account of severe pain in her eyes and he went to Baba for relief. Baba then told him to foment the eyes with onion. Dada asked "Where am I to get onion?" Baba always kept some onion with him and perhaps Dada hoped to get his supply from Baba. But that just arbiter was keeping some designs up his sleeve and told Dada "Get it from this ayi, Le., mother," pointing to my mother-in-law. Baba was giving her the chance of reliev­ing her pent up feelings and taking noble revenge by return­ing good for evil. She told Baba that Dada had been abusing her that very morning for using onions for preparing her meal, and that she would not care to give him anything but if it was Baba's order that she should give him onions, she would. Baba ordered the gift and she had her grand revenge of doing good to one who had so recently lacerated her feel­ings.

It was in the same year that my mother-in-law was anxious to get Baba* blessing, to obtain progeny for me. A few children were born before that but they died when quite young. So at her request, Madhav Rao Deshpande took my wife to Baba and wanted Baba to give her a coconut as a gift and throw it into her Padar (Mundani or end of her cloth). Then Baba's eyes brimmed with tears as he gave the coconut to my wife; and he bade me sit at his feet and massage his legs. As I was doing so, he made passes with his hand over my back. I felt very grateful for his kindness and I referred to the madman's attempt to murder me and to Baba's photo being with me at the ;time as the explanation for my narrow escape. Baba merely remarked, "Allah Malik Hai. God is the Lord, le.. He orders all things," Then Baba and I embraced each other.

Baba showed me once again how considerate he was towards all his devotees and how strongly he was against one devotee teasing or interfering with another. One day Baba said "My stomach is aching." "Mavusi", the strong lady that I have already mentioned, brought a red hot brick and placed it on Baba's abdomen, le., above his Kupni, and retained it in that position for about ten minutes. I felt very much for Baba, as I was shampooing his feet at that time, and thought her service an instance of "cruel kindness". Then she re­moved the brick and began pressing Baba's sides with her hands with great violence. I could not endure the sight, and I told her to be more gentle as Baba would suffer. Baba at once ordered me to get away. I did.

That night, about 8 PM, I went to the Masjid and asked Baba to give me some Anagraha. "What Japa shall I make?" I asked. Baba replied, "Go to Devpur (a village 20 miles oif Kopergaon) and begin worshipping the stones there which your ancestors worshipped." Later on, I returned to Dahanu and asked my father what Baba's words might im­port. Then my father gave me an account of our ancestral worship of images at Devpur.

Baba Prayag, my ancestor, had no issue till he was 60 years old. He learnt that issue was often obtained by others by the grace of a saint then living, named Baba Bhagavat (who was a disciple of Eknath Maharaj) and that B.Bhagavat could be seen at Trimbak on those rare occasions when he would go to see the ;Nivritti Nath Shrine there. B.P, went there and obtained his grace and blessings for issue with a coconut. Thereafter, le., at the age of 61, B.P. got a son, whom he named Krishna Rao. Baba Bhagawat took that child, when it was but one year old to Devpur and gave it a handwritten copy of Jnaneswari. (This identical copy is now produced. Note, Just as it is produced, some music is heard passing in the street). Whenever this copy is taken out some auspicious signs are always found attending. From that time forward, every member of our family in his generation takes Upadesh from a member of that Guru's line. This fact, it is, that made Sai Baba give me the above answer. (At that time I did not know all these facts. But my father to whom I com­municated the answer of Baba narrated these facts to me).

In 1916, by Baba's grace, I was saved from a watery grave. There was Plague at Dahanu and I had, daily to cross a creek between my house and my office. One day I returned from the office very late and there was no ferry boat. I then took a Ton! (Tamil Thoni" or Canoe) with a boy to paddle, and it got upset in the middle of the creek, I had swerved just a bit but that was enough to make the little canoe capsize. From the time it capsized I had my Dhyana of Sai Baba. The boy who was rowing or paddling the canoe was a good swim­mer and a resourceful lad. He asked me to hold on to a rope that was above water connecting a buoy with a ship which was at a little distance from us. I caught it and with its help kept my head above water. The body hallooed to the ship and the shipmen sent us a boat and saved us.

In 1919, I had a son born to rne; and this was the first son bom after Baba gave my wife the coconut, with blessings from this mouth and with tears in his eyes.   We named him Kcduram To explain Baba's tears a few facts about Kaluram's short life of eight years may be mentioned.    He was bom under the constellation; Moola. When the boy was only three years old he was always repeating the mantra 'Ram Hari Ram/ It was in 1921, le. when he was entering on his third year, the effect of Moola was seen.   His mother Le. my first wife, died. No doubt the deeply sympathetic heart of Baba saw her coming end when he gave her the "blessing" (?) for a child to be born under Moola.   Anyhow, one might suppose that there was the mitigation of the sorrow in having brought a saintly infant prodigy into existence.  But see what followed even in that matter. The boy was stunning the imagination of all that became acquainted with him.   A pious and learned neighbour, named Hegde, watched him and declared that he was an incarnation of that playmate of Sri Krishna on whose back the latter got up to invade curd-pots.   The boy himself stated occasionally "Krishna used to tease me. I caught hold of Hari's leg and pinched them.   I looked up.   Hari (who was standing above me) upset the curd-pot over my face.   Then the lady of the house turned up, etc."   The boy sometimes anticipated Hegde's daily study of "Hari Vijaya" and declared what stories or incidents formed the subject matter of the portion to be read on the particular day by Hegde.  I saw him one day seated in a corner, with his head covered by a cloth. He was motionless and steady like one immersed in Yoga. His eyeballs were upturned, but the cloth over his head that was worn like a cowl hid the eyes from my view.   I lifted the cloth and asked him why he was covering his head.   He said he was always doing so.   Asked why he went on with his course of Sadhana, he laughed.   His precocity surprised me greatly. Once he asked me to get for him the latest special issue of a journal (Sandesh). When that was brought, the first picture on it was Sri Krishna's encircled by the Pranava "Aum". Kalu cut out that picture and stuck it on the wall. Then there was the advertisement of "His Master's Voice" records with the picture of the dog before the gramophone. Kalu's interrogation thereon was typical of him. Kalu    : What is this ?

I It is the advertisement of a phonograph.

He It is a special message of Krishna.

I What is the special message ?

He What is the dog hearing ?

I The music played by the plate.

He The dog hears his master's voice.

See the dog - so steady from head to tail, intently listening.

We must be equally firm and steady.

See how I sit. You also should sit like that and listen, and then you will hear Baba's voice.

I :           How do you know Baba's yoice ?

He : I know. I will not tell you. Experience it yourself.

In addition to his oral Japa of "Ram Hari Ram," Kalu-ram was going on writing that mantra in chits and a quantity of them were with us. When Upasani Baba came to Andheri, he said he wanted such chits and they were handed over to him. In 1924 Gadgi Baba came over to my house to see this boy. In 1926, Kalu had dropsy and low fever. We gave him only Baba's Udhi. The disease continued for a while. On Kartik Sudha Ekadasi (so piously celebrated by thousands of pilgrims at Pandharpur and other Vishnu Sthalas), Kaluram approached his end. He called me to his bedside and asked for Jnaneswari. It was at once produced. He himself opened it and picked up the XIII Chapter. At that time I was feeling heavily the sadness of the approaching end, the bitterness that we had to part with such a son. But Kalu cheered me up and said, "What is there to cry for? Read this (Ch. XIII). Read it aloud for me. I am going to-day." My heart was sinking under a load of grief and I could not read it. Then he kept the book in front of him and breathed his last. A fitting termina­tion, this departure on Kartik Ekadasi, was for such a life. But yet how sad was such an early death ? No wonder that Baba wept in 1918 when he gave the coconut and clearly perceived that such an early death was to crown such a life.

As for the continuance of my line, by Baba's blessings, that was made secure. In 1922, Le., one year after Kaluram's mother died, my parents were arranging for my secolid mar­riage. A choice had to be made between a girl that would bring some wealth or pecuniary contribution with her and a poor girl. The proposal of the first girl that would bring in Rs. 600 was being considered by my father. I did not favour it. Baba came in my mother's dream and said to her "Do not accept this girl in marriage for your son." In the same dream my mother saw another girl. A little later the uncle and guardian of a poor girl offered her hand in marriage to me. I referred him to my mother. She saw the girl and found it was the very girl she had seen in the above-mentioned dream. This settled the question and the latter girl was married to me in 1922, and several children were born of this marriage and with Baba's blessings are getting on well. "Baba's blessings" is no empty formal phrase. I will cite several instances to show how he has guarded them and saved their lives as he has saved mine (at least twice, as already mentioned by me).

In 1926, my son, Sainath alias Hareswar, was eight or nine months old. Kaluram had crackers and Bengal matches. One of my children threw away a lighted match. It fell on Sainath and his clothes caught fire.  He wore a cloth beneath his waist and a frock next to the skin. Both these caught fire. The children did not realise the seriousness of the situation and raised no alarm.  My wife was outside the house engaged with something.   Suddenly a Fakir appeared before her and pointing his arm and finger towards the terrace on which the children were playing, said "See what is going on there." My wife at once went inside and noticed the fire on the child's clothes.   With great   presence of mind and resourcefulness, she ran to the child, seized the clothes and rolled them be­tween her palms and thus boldly extinguished the fire. The front half of the frock from bottom to the neck was burnt out and part of the nether cloth also.    But the child (Sainath) came off entirely scatheless.   Though the frock worn next to the .skin was burnt out. his skin had not been burnt, nor was his nether nor was his nether portion burnt.   This complete safety was evidently due to the same cause as the sudden appearance of the Fakir.  The Fakir had also suddenly disap­peared. When she came out after extinguishing the fire, there was no trace of the Fakir.   Who could the Fakir be, how had he known the fire accident the very moment it happened and why should he -be at the trouble to watch over the children and fetch their mother to save them at the nick of time?   In 1928, Sainath, then two years old, had an accident. As usual he was running about; and one day he fell down the stairs. There was a heap of the debris at the bottom, I ran up and was surprised to see him standing without any injury at all. He told me "Do not fear. Baba bore me up."

In 1932, Sainath gave his younger brother. Vasudev, a ring and the latter stuffed it into his mouth instinctively. The ring went into the throat and stuck there. There was a alarm and for nearly one hour every one in the house was excited and medicaments were tried to induce the throat or stomach to throw out the ring. Finally, I took Sai Baba's Udhi and put it in the child's mouth. Then inserting my finger deep within his mouth, I felt the ring and pulled it out. In 1934, :the same child Vasudev had measles, pneumonia and an abscess on the chest. He was getting weaker and weaker. The doctor was afraid to operate on the abscess on account of the weakness. I applied antiphlogistine over the abscess. The abscess was opened. It was a wide open wound. The doctor would not help me. So I relied upon my doctor, Sai Baba, and trusting in him put a bit of his Udhi into the wound. The Deputy Collector, Vasant Rao Madhav Jadhav, (now D.C. at Poona) asked me wether I was confident of a cure and within what time the gaping wound would be cured? I answered "In 24 hours." That night, Baba appeared in my dream and said, "Why did you say "24 hours? You should have said "Immediately." I apologised for my mistake in the dream itself. Next morning, the wound was healed up. Jadhav wondered and wanted Baba's Udhi and blessing for his own son aged 41/2 years who was down with pneumo­nia. I gave him the Udhi on the sixth day of that child's fever. The very next day the fever stopped, though the attendant doctor stated that the fever would run its course for 9 days (le., that it would last 3 days after I gave the Udhi). Jadhav sent up his thanks offering of Rs. 7 to be sent to Sri Sai Baba's Samasthan.

In 1935, Le., last year, milk was being boiled on my stove. Anand, my two-year-old child, came running up, stumbled over a stick and fell upon the milk and stove. Just fancy what should happen in such a case. One would expect his skin to be scalded by the boiling milk and clothes to catch Jtre. But here the milk was dashed down on one side and the stove on the other side; and the child lay between the two neither scalded, nor catching fire on his clothes.   This year, Le.,   1936,   Vasudev   and  his  younger  brother  rummaged among the contents of an almyrah and found a box full of what they thought to be peppermint lozenges. Vasudev ate some and gave some to his younger brother. The taste was unpleasent and they did not eat much. But what little was eaten made Vasu smart. His tongue was protruding. My wife inserted her finger into his mouth and extracted what she believed to be chunam, i.e., lime. We were then shown by Vasu the packet or box of "Sweetmeats" that he had been consuming. It was "Pharoah's snakes" - the piece of fire works that burn out forming ashes that lengthen and wind about in the form of snakes.    We then took him to the doctor who administered    an emetic, which did not act. Then I gave Baba's Udhi and Tirtha - which acted at once and resulted in his vomitting out all the poisonous stuff he has swollowed. After all this was over,  Vasudev mentioned that he had given the Peppermint to his two year old younger brother.    Evi­dently the latter ate but little, as there was no trouble. But to expel what little he might have swallowed, we administered our   emetic, uiz., Udhi and water with Baba's name to him and he had a good vomit.

A cashier in an office was in trouble last year about Rs.3,500 which was not accounted for.   A friend advised him to go to me and he   came.   That cashier disliked Baba, as Baba was a 'Mahomedan' But when he came to me, I told him that his sole sanctuary was the Sai Mandir at Shirdi, and that he should go there and make a heartfelt apology and appeal for help.   He went there, got a photo of Baba and with the help of Sagun Naik placed it at the Samadhi, prayed there and came back with the photo. Things then began to brighten up. He was allowed eight days time to pay up the Rs.3,500. He went up, got money and paid it. The matter was closed. There was neither dismissal nor prosecution.    Similar help was rendered by Baba in another case, Mr. V.C. Chitnis after his dismissal from service came to me.  I told him to cast his burden on Sai Baba and make an appeal at the Shirdi Mandir for help.   He went to Shirdi and later he was reinstated in service.

I shall mention what help Baba gave to members of my family, for Sadgati, Le., at or after death.

My parents were devotees of Sai Baba. My mother was aged seventy in 1926 when she died. She kept Sai Baba's photo to the last in front of her. As the end was nearing, she asked me to read Vishnu Sahasranama aloud by her side, and I did. Then with "Ram Ram" on her lips, she passed away.

My second wife passed away in 1929 and I was anx­ious to do everything necessary to secure Sadgati for her soul. So I wished to take her bones and ashes to Nasik and dispose of them there with proper ceremonies. But I was beset with difficulties. My father was ill. I had, amidst my feeling of bitter loss at her departure, to make sure of the funds needed and the steps necessary, of which I had no idea. I took a sum of Rs.80 and leaving a child of years at home, started by train for Nasik. At Victoria Terminus, I found I had a fellow passenger who took enormous trouble for me and extended his sympathy and help even before the train started.

He    Where are you going ?

I Nasik

He        Why do you carry no bed ? The nights are chill.

I I find no necessity. I am in no mood to mind these things. It is eight days since my wife died leaving a three-year old son to be taken care of by me.

He asked me to wait. He called out ot a friend and got a blanket and a bedsheet for me.

I       :   How can you get these things so quickly ?

He    :   Our quarters are very near.   It is the Bombay Arts School. Have this cigar please.

I (accepting the cigar): What is your name ? May I know who you are ?

He    :   I am a peon in that school.   My name is Ganapathy Shankar - you may go to sleep  now.Have no anxiety.   I am also going to Nasik,    I shall wake you up when we reach

I :     What takes you to Nasik ?

G.S. : Simply to see Nasik. My Saheb is gone to Simla and I get this chance of seeing Nasik.

Then I lay down.

G.S. : "Do take good care of your money; or if you like, I will keep it for you, if you give it to me, in this steel trunk of mine.

Then I handed over my 80 rupees to him and went to sleep. At Ghoti Station, near Nasik, he woke me up. We washed ourselves and took tea. He paid for me also. At Nasik Road Station, we got into the bus. Then,

G.S.     : Do not go to Bhatji, Le., a priest your­self.  I will settle everything for you.  Do not trouble yourself. Then he attended on me and attended to everything as a peon would do, till the end of the twelfth day ceremony. Throughout the proceedings he showed his special knowledge of the ceremonies, i.e., he told the priest to take pinda first to Ramkund.  He told me to retain in my grip the bones I brought, immersed in the waters of the Godavari at Ramkund till the close of the ceremony.   The bones should be left in a particular hollow there and kept in position by pressure of the hand to prevent their being washed away by force of the current.  My surprise was that even as I kept them they were quickly dissolving as though they ware sugarcandy.   On the twelfth day, he got a wire requiring his presence back at Bombay.   He accounted to me for every pie he had received from me.    He took me to the chief temples at Nasik.    A Sanyasi teacher at one of the temples recognized him and to him he showed the wire.   My priest said the G.S. was a man of extraordinary cleverness, e.g. when the priest started cere­monies without the worship of Ganesha (considering it un­necessary for inauspicious ceremonies), G.S. interposed and bade him start it and when the priest still entertained doubts, made him refer the matter to a learned authority who agreed with G.S.  He parted from me at Nasik that day and promised to call at my place, i.e. Andheri. He gave me his name and address.   After my return home, seeing that my beneficent friend did not turn up I went to the address given viz., "G.S., peon. Bombay Art School" and made inquiries and asked his fellow peon about him.    They all said there was no such person at all known to them. The principal (the "Saheb") also said the same.  Who was this 'man' that took such enormous pains (without any remuneration or prospect of it) and gave me such splendid help in securing   Sadgati for my wife at Nasik by proper performance of all the ceremonies ? Who can it be - but Sai Baba ?

In 1927 I went to Shirdi for chowla, Le., tuft ceremony of Kaluram. Then Baba's direction to me to go to Deopur which I had neglected till then was again stressed on me, through another saint who had come up to Shirdi. That was Nanu Maharaj or Sripad Narsoba Panchlegankar, aged only fifteen. He asked me without any intimation to him of what or who I was or what Baba had told me about anugrahd (intimation).

"Have you been to Deopur ?"

I was taken aback.  I answered the negative.

N      :   Why?

I       :   There is no one at Deopur older than myself (in my Guru's line) for me to accept my Guru and get anugraha.

N      :   What of that ? My Guru is younger than I.   His name is 'Doi Pode' and your Guru's name is Bhagavat.

Sri Narsoba promised to show me his Guru later. Ac­cepting this reminder, I carried out Sai Baba's order and went to Deopur and accepted anugraha. I had never met Sri Nar­soba before. Next year, I learnt that Narsoba was arriving at Bombay. V.T. As his train steamed in and came to a stop, from his compartment he beckoned to me as I stood amidst a crowd and showed me his Guru, an eight-year-old youth, Sripad Ramakrishna Doi Pode. Sri Narsoba is doing "Sudhi" work; I have not met him after 1928. His Guru is still a student (for Matriculation Exam.) at Guntur (Madras Presi­dency).

I will close this long account with one instance of Baba's response to my prayer for help to strangers. On 3-12-1923 I was seated in my house at Andheri, facing the road. One Mr. Noel was driving his car along that road. A little girl, daughter of Vittal, was knocked down by the car. As I saw it I prayed, "Baba, save her". The car stopped, I went down and picked up the child and took her to the hospital. The stop­ping of the car before the child was crushed was a miracle. The break in the car was not working. Then on examination it was found, though the break was not put on, a stone had somehow got into the gear and that was how the car sud­denly stopped in time. Looking at the injuries to the girl, the Sub-Assistant Surgeon feared they would prove fatal. But I told him, "Sai Baba would save her". She continued as an inpatient in the hospital for fifteen days and she recovered her health; but her power of speech was not restored. That continued to be her condition for nine months. Then Das Manu came to Andheri and I told him the facts. He told me to give her Baba's Udhi again for restoring her speech. I again gave her Udhi. The next day she began to speak. This was most marvellous. She is alive now and speaks very well. Baba kindly gives me opportunities of doing service to others. In 1926, he appeared to me in a dream and bade me go and tell Mr- K G Kothare (Bar-at-law) "not to do what he was proposing to do". Despite the vagueness of the message. I went to him and delivered the message. He thanked me for it and informed me that it referred to the step he had been intending to take. He wanted to give up his Grthostasrom and become a SanyasL He gave up the idea, at that time. (Read over and admitted to be correct).

V

23rd SEPT, 1936, DADYAGIARI ST., BOMBAY

sri narayan asram, Sanyasi and disciple of Vedasrama Swami (Taraka Muit, Durgaghat, Kashi), residing at Vaman Muth, Gangapuri Wai, (Satara District), aged 58, says:

I knew Sai Baba, Le. heard the name and the great­ness of Sai Baba in 1910 from Das Ganu Maharaj's kirtana. I asked him "Is Sai Baba living?" He said "Yes, at Shirdi." In five days of that, I went to Shirdi and saw SAi Baba. In six months thereafter, I paid Baba nine visits. I often went to him in later years also. I was then in service, in the Customs Department and continued in it till 1926 when I retired on pension after 31 years service. 1927-1930 I spent in "Nar-amada Pradakshina". In 19331. I took Sanyas changing my former name :Toser" to the present one, I came first under a Guru's influence in 1895 whom I saw in a dream. When I went to Shirdi in 1910 and had my contact with Sai Baba, I found that he was the same as the Guru who gave me first inspiration (without any words) in my dream in 1895. Then I passed after 1918 into the charge of Vasudevanand Sar-aswati of Garudeshwar on the banks of Narmada near Nanded (in Gujarat) Though Vasudevanand Saraswati left the flesh in 1915 he had connection with Baba. I believe that Baba has left me in; his charge. So, Vedasrama Swami of Kashi. Taraka Muth, Durgaghat, gave me deeksha in 1931.

I mostly stay at Wai. As for my internal progress and Sai Baba's influence on me, it is hardly a thing to be de­scribed.

Sai Baba had different ways of dealing with different people. He was the centre and to each man he darted a separate radius. Most cared for external things only and hardly any came to him for the highest spiritual benefit of Atma Nishta. Hari Sitaram Dixit, Chandorkar and Dab-hollkar were probably those who came close enough to him to receive high teaching. Yet it is a question, if any of them got into Atma Nishta or anywhere near that. Baba had made Dixit read Eknath's two works, as he was but a beginner in the religious field and had to develop his bhakti (devotion) chiefly. Of course, immediate proximity was not needed for development under Baba. When I was at Shirdi, I would mostly go and sit away by myself in the (Sathe) Wada and not be at the Mosque. Even at the Wada, one is under Baba's direct influence.

As for Baba's own state, that is a thing one can get a glimpse of from some facts. Baba had a way of touching (with his palm) the head of the devotee who went to him. There was no adhikari evidently to receive everything Baba could give and thus there was none to succeed to his position. But his touch did convey certain impulses, forces, ideas, etc. Some­times he pressed his hand heavily on the head as though he was crushing out some of the lower impulses of the devotee. Sometimes he tapped, sometimes he made a pass with the palm over the head etc. Each had its own effect—making remarkable difference in the sensations or feelings of the devotee. Baba's touch was one means. Apart from that, he would invisibly operate on the nature of the devotee and effect a great change in him. He graciously conveyed to me without any words, the feeling that differences (between vari­ous souls etc.) i.e.all differences were unreal, that the One real thing is that which underlines all. This was after my first visit-in 1913 or 1914 perhaps. But Baba never spoke out this truth so far as I know. Obviously there was not compe­tent adhtkari who had to be spoken to in that way,.

I have not given out my experience though Mr.Dixit and Mr.DabhoIkar asked me for it. I have never heard Baba utter Mahavakyas or say things of Sankaracharya's Atma-bodha or Viveka Chudamani or anything on those lines.

When I went first in 1910 no crowds had come. Baba was mostly silent then. Very soon Bombay crowds began to pour upon Shirdi. The Baba was being pressed into new habits and ways. Devotees to suit their own tastes forced numerous forms and observances on Baba and made him a mere man shining with the aid of the shows they arranged for him. His real greatness shone by itself without forms and rigid observances and pomp, and was shut out by ;these. These reduced Baba to earthly grandeur.

Baba spoke to me only a few words—but they were direct and plain words. He did not talk to me in parables. He began to employ parable in teaching the numerous people that flocked to him. There is a great deal of parallelism between Sri Sai of Shirdi and Akkalkote Maharaj and that can be found by reading the life of Akkalkote Maharaj. The latter also hardly ever spoke of Adwaitic realization. He was a greater Karmata, (le., follower of rigid Karmamarga, the path of works) and insister on forms than Sai Baba. Baba was trying to push people just a few steps above their level.

Das Ganu told me that Baba referred to one Daji Ma­haraj, a saintly grihastha Brahmin, who lived at the village Dangar Takidi near Nanded (in Nizam's State) as "my brother." That Maharaj passed away in 1934. He was prac­tising Gayatri Purascharan. He said one day in 1914 at Dan-gar Takidi Yesterday, Sai Baba came here in the form of Maruti and there was a great rumbling noise at his arrival".

My father and I are Maruti worshippers. I installed a new Maruti image and got a temple built land consecrated in 1918 at Ville Parle, Hanuman Street, I had to name the God, and I called it Sai Hanuman, remembering that Sai was Ha­numan. I gifted that temple by deed to my brother. The very day this temple was consecrated at Ville Parle, Baba gave, it seems, Rs.25 to a Brahmin named Vaze and made him per­form Satya Narayan Puja at Shirdi. People connect these two events. When I was first visiting Shirdi, I was heterodox and could hardly be taken for a brahmin. Regard for Samskaras grew on ;me. In never cared for Siddhis. I seldom attended Baba's Chavadi procession even when I was at Shirdi.

I was desirous of getting Sanyas even before I got married. I actually got it only in 1931. But the way was being paved. My mother and wife are living;but I have no issue. Two children were born and they passed away after a few days of existence on this earth, one in 1900, the other in 1915. Brah-macharya is essential to Sanyasa. Tht fact that a wife is living in the house is no impediment to my Brahmacharya. If I look upon my mother like any other human being without special attachment, that is no hindrance to Sanyasa. The Samskara of going through Sanyasa gave me a great impetus. Sai Baba never spoke to me(or so far as I remember, to anyone else) about the desirability, necessity or disadvantages of a life of Sanyasa. About changes of caste, Ashrama.Guru, methods of Sadhana, caste observances, etc., he had one and the same advice or prescription "Each must stick to his lot and get on."

(Read over and found correct.)

The Guru after all is a medium, a means to realize your own self. He gives you a push and then you have to exert yourself and go higher and hold to your height. Sai Baba thus was a medium though one responsible for a con­siderable and momentous advance in my spiritual history. Before I went to Shirdi, one Vinayak Bhat Shadale (supported by the Kolhapur State) whom I met in 1900 and who had made me read bits of Yoga-Vashishta with zest was also a "medium" for me.

With one help at one time and a second at another, one has to go on steadily and realize the self.

VI

21st MAY, 1936.

Mrs. Manager, Holy city, says:

It is very difficult to describe Sai Baba and our experi­ence of him, but one may talk about some things relating to him.

My daughter took ill when she was fifteen months old and I was sore distressed. Just then my brother-in-law came back from Shirdi and was sounding the high praise of Sai Baba. I then said that if the child recovered, we should go with our child to Shirdi and pay our respects to Sai Baba. The child recovered and we went up to fulfil our vow.

One's first impression of Sai Baba was derived from his eyes. There was such power and penetration in his glance that none could continue to look at his eyes. One felt that Sai Baba was reading him, or her, through and through. Soon one lowered one's eyes and bowed down. One felt that He was not only in one's heart, but in every atom of one's body. A few words, a gesture would reveal to one that Sai Baba knew all about the past, present and even future and about everything else. There was nothing else to do for one, except to submit trustfully and to surrender oneself to Him. And there He was to look after every minute detail, and guide one safe through every turn and every vicissitude of life. He was the Antaryami, call Him God or Satpurusha in Sahaja Sthithi or what you like. But the overpowering personality was there, and in his presence no doubts, no fears, no questioning had any place and one resigned oneself and found that was only course, the safest and best course. From one's first entry into His pres­ence, one went on getting experience of His power. His all-knowing and all-pervasive personality, His protecting care. that shielded one, wherever one went and at any time what­soever.

I shall give some instances of his Antanjamitva that I personally got or learnt of in the early days of my stay at Shirdi.

Shirdi in those days was a neglected hamlet without any lighting, sweeping and other conveniences of civilization.

It has had some improvement since. But when I was there, the streets and passages were all dark and unlit at night. One night I was walking about. But suddenly and abruptly I stopped. There was no sound or sight to account for my stopping. For some unknown reason I felt I must stop and I did. A little time passed and a light was brought by some one and there Lo, and behold! at the very place where I was to have placed my foot at the next step, there was a serpent lying quiet. Of course, if I had put my foot, the consequences might have been very serious, if not fatal. The light showed what the danger was that I escaped. But I could not have guessed of its existence so near me by the use of my own powers, in the absence of the light. Why and how had I stopped so abruptly and how did the light come in so oppor­tune a moment to show me the danger? The only answer is-the all-seeing and ever watchful power and protective grace of Sai Baba. He has saved this body of mine from death on many occasions. But these or some of these will be men­tioned later on.

To take another instance. We used to go and sit near Sai Baba at his Mosque. Any one could go up at the usual time, without permission asked of or introduction taken to Sai Baba and bow before him and all there. On one occasion, as I was seated at a short distance from Sai Baba. there came a leper to the Mosque. His disease was far advanced. He was stinking and he had little strength left in him, so that it was with much difficulty and very slowly, he clambered up the three steps of the Mosque, moved on to the Dhuni (fire) and then to Sai Baba and placed his head on Baba's feet. It took so much time for him to take his Darshan. and I feeling the strench from him intensely, hoped he would clear off. At last when he got down slowly carrying a small parcel wrapped up in a dirty cloth, I felt relief and said within myself, Thank God. He is off." Sai Baba at once darted a piercing glance at me, and I knew that he read my thought Before the leper had gone far, Sai Baba called out and sent some one to fetch him back. The man came. It was again the slow process of his clambering up, emitting foul strench all the time; and as the man bowed to Baba, Baba picked up that parcel saying "What is this7*and opened it. It contained some "pedas," (Le, milk sweets) and Sai Baba took up a piece and gave it to me alone of all present-and asked me to eat it. What horror! To eat up a thing brought by the stinking leper! But it was Sai Baba's order, and there was no option but to obey. So I ate it up. Sai Baba took another piece and himself swallowed it and then sent the man away with the remainder. Why he was recalled and I alone was the chosen recipient of his peda. none then understood. But I knew full well that Sai Baba had read my heart and was teaching me valuable lessons, (e.g.,in humility, fraternity, sympathy, endurance and trust in His Supreme wisdom rather than in my own notions of hygiene and sanita­tion for saving me from disease).

When we had difficulties to get over, we never had to speak. We had merely to go and sit or stand in his presence. He at once knew what the matter was and gave a direction exactly meeting our requirements. We had our servant with us at Shirdi. He had acute pain in his lumbar region. My husband went to Sai Baba and was standing. Some others were also present before Sai Baba. Baba suddenly said "Hello, my leg is paining. Great is the pain." Some one suggested that something should be done to relieve the pain. "Yes" said Baba If green leaves are heated and applied over it, it will go away." "What leaves, Baba?" was the query by some one. Baba said, "These green leaves near the Lendi" (le., steam let.) One suggested one leaf and another a different leaf. One finally asked if it was Korphad. "Yes", Baba said, "That is it. The leaf has to be brought, split into two, slightly heated over the fire and applied. That is all." At once, my husband knew that this was Baba's kind prescrip­tion for our servant. We fetched the leaf and applied it as directed; and the servant was relieved of his pain.   Not only was he present at all places when his physical body was in one place, say the mosque, but he was also able to do various things with his invisible body.

My eyes have been giving me trouble constantly. On one occasion while I was at Shirdi, they were greatly paining me and water was freely flowing from them. In such a condi­tion I went and sat up before Baba. He looked at me. My eyes ceased to pain and water. But his eyes were dropping tears. The accurate diagnosis of the disease at a glance was won­drous enough. Still more wondrous was his curing deep seated organic disease abruptly and suddenly without any visible application of remedy or treatment. Scientists or medi­cal men may disbelieve this. But having actually experienced it in my own case and in that of others who came before Sai Baba, I cannot disbelieve such cases and what is most pecu-liar-the drawing of diseases on to himself by pure willpower.

These wonderful powers and especially this wonderful nature of Sri Sai Baba with his Antaryamitva, le., his being inside every creature and every object animate or inanimate so as to control all voluntary and involuntary movements of creatures and objects, threw light on what He occasionally said of himself "I am not at Shirdi," he would say, while he was at Shirdi. As was frequently said, he was not confined within the three cubits length  of flesh, bone and blood that people called Sri Sai Baba. He was in every dog, cat, pig, man and woman. While we cannot shake off the idea that we are this physical sheath or the attachment we feel to things con­nected with it, he was ever free from such narrow ideas or attachments. He seemed to be in or to be the Oversoul, the Super-consciousness, Sahaj Samadhi,or Jnanamaya Sharir by whatever name we choose to refer to that higher state of his.

One noticeable difference between Sri Sai Baba and other saints struck me. I have moved with other notable saints also. I have seen them in high Samadhi or trance condition entirely forgetting their body and course) effacing the narrow notion of the self confined to the body; and I have seen them later getting conscious of their surroundings, knowing what is in our hearts and replying to us. But with Sri Sai Baba, there was this peculiar feature. He had not to go into trance to achieve anything or to reach any higher posi­tion or knowledge. He was every moment exercising a double consciousness, one actively utilizing the Ego called Sri Sai Baba and dealing with other Egos in temporal or spiritual affairs, and the other-entirely superceeding all Egos and rest­ing in the position of the Universal Soul or Ego; he was exercising and manifesting all the powers and features inci­dental to both the states of consciousness. Other saints would forget their body and surondings and then return to it. But Sri Sai Baba always was in and outside the material world. Others seemed to take pains and by effort to trace the contents of others' minds and read their past history. But with Sri Sai Baba this was not a matter of effort. He was in the all knowing state always.Sai Baba was one whom some people could not understand at all. He would talk, e.g., to a howker about some cloth brought for making Cupnis, higgle and haggle like the most inveterate shopper at a bazaar, and beat down the price of the cloth, say from As.8 a yard to As.5 a yard and take, say, 40 yds. This made the hasty onlooker conclude that Sai Baba was parsimonious, and avaricious or at any rate attached to wealth. A little later, he(i e., Sai Baba) would pay the hawker, and then he would sometimes pay four times the price settled. Again the hasty onlooker would conclude that Baba was crazy, touched in the brain, or need­lessly ostentatious in his misplaced charity. In both cases, the hasty judgements would be wide of the mark and the real reasons for Sai Baba's conduct would remain mysterious to all except those whom he meant to enlighten.

It is not merely his power that endeared him to his devotees. His loving care combined with those powers made Shirdi, a veritable paradise to the devotees who went there. Directly we went there, we felt safe, that nothing could harm us. When I went and sat in his presence,/ always forget my pain-nay the body itself with all mundane concerns and anxi­eties. Hours would pass and I would be in blissful uncon­sciousness of their passing. That was a unique experience-shared, I believe, by, all his real devotees. He was all in all and the All for us. We never could think of his having limita­tions. Now that he has passed away, I feel what a terrible loss it is, as I can no longer pass hours together in blissful uncon­sciousness of time and affairs at his feet. We feel we have lost our soul; our bodies alone are left to us now. Yet it would not be true to say that he has altogether vanished. He is still living now and we have ample proof of his powers and pro­tecting care in many matters of and on; though the assurance we derive from these about his continuance can never com­pare with the bliss we felt in his presence when he was in the physical body. I shall proceed to give some instances of his active care for us and of the help he has rendered to us after dropping his physical sheath.

I was suffering for over a month during summer of 1915 with a splitting neuralgic headache; we were at Pan-chgani, a sanatorium, and we tried a number of remedies. It was all to no purpose. I felt I must die, With that feeling. I resolved to go to Shirdi, so that I may have the privilege of dying at Baba's feet; and in spite of some objections raised by my husband at first, we moved on to Kopergaon and came to the river Godavari which we had to cross. It struck me at once that I should bathe in the holy river as anyhow I was going to die soon. A cold bath might increase my pain and accelerate death. Well, so much the better, I had my bath. Well? Judge of our surprise! The bath over, I came out and the headache instead of getting aggravated, left me at once and for ever. That long standing scourge left me for good by that bath, even though a cold bath when the headache was on was previously totally impracticable and a terror to me. This cure was surely due to Sri Sai.

In 1927, when I was six months with child, we, (le.t our whole family) started for Shirdi; shortly thereafter my child died in the womb, and no delivery followed for days. My features were getting blue. I was clearly having blood poi­soned. There was no medical help or midwife at Shirdi; we, however, got some medicines from Ahmednagar. They were of no avail. My husband went to Sakori and prayed to Sri Upas-ani-Baba to help me. The latter merely said "You have the best doctor and best nurse there, (meaning of course, Sri Sai Baba}. Why do you come to me?" The child remained for days dead in my womb.and I was unconscious. What happened thereafter and how I delivered, I do not remember. But my husband told me(Mr, Manager confirms this) that in my un­conscious state, I was speaking and giving directions as to what steps were to be taken besides applying Udhi and Tirth of Sri Sai Baba. These directions were followed and every thing inside was expelled (especially later on through glandu­lar swellings). Yet, for one more month I continued uncon­scious and at last recovered full consciousness and health. This was a clear case of Sri Sai Baba's help{to save my life) nine years after he entered into Mahasamadhi.

Sri Sai Baba did not found any Math or Institution and therefore left no one to occupy the Gadi he sat on.

Sri Sai Baba's qualities shine out of his own conduct and his virtues are worthy of mention. His kindness would be amply borne out by the incidents already mentioned. Many other incidents known to and experienced by all who came to him can be mentioned which show that it extended far be­yond Shirdi-thousands of miles away even-even to Europe, when his devotees were facing danger in the Great-War in 1914-19.   But he was also Just and impartial, while he was kind. If the occasion called for it, he said, one should sacrifice one's own child. His serene impartiality knew no difference between the king and a beggar. All were equal in his eyes. He was never obsequious to the rich and high placed, nor super­cilious and contemptuous to the lowly. Revenue Commission­ers and Collectors have called to see him, and lower officials in numbers, e.g., D. Os, D. C.s, Mamlatdars, etc. But wealth and position were no special grounds of preference or differ­ential treatment with him.   His accessibility to all and at all hours practically was a remarkable feature of his. "My Darbar is always open," he used to say- "at all hours." He had noth­ing to fear from scrutiny, and nothing shameful to conceal. And his actions were open and above board,

Another distinguishing feature of his life was Freedom from care and anxiety.  He had no interests to serve or protect, no institution to seek support for or maintain; no acquisitions to safeguard; no private property to feel anxious about. Every­thing got was quickly disposed of. He lived on the begged and freely offered food.   He daily collected Dakshina   - of that a further detail may be given later on.   But he spent it freely and liberally.   During the last nine years or so of his life, he was daily giving Rs. 110 away to Tatya and Bade Baba.   Each day's earning were depleted in no time. And when he died, he left in his pocket just the amount needed to cover his funeral expenses.  His self-control and equanimity may be mentioned in this connection.    He was far too lofty to care for trivial things.   His palate, like his other senses, was so strictly un­der his control that none ever found him show any trace of desire for anything, so far as I know.

His generosity may next be mentioned. Besides Rs. 110 daily paid to some, he would scatter money and gifts. Some would say it was Rs. 300 daily-fancying that untruth or exaggeration is needed to set out Baba's glory. But his great­ness needed no such untruth or exaggeration to set it off. A few actual facts would suffice to establish his greatness be­yond question. Coming to the question of his generosity, we may state what we have seen Bhajan parties (Hindus) and Fakirs would come and would be liberally supplied.

His methods of imparting spiritual benefit and his reli­gious ideas were hardly brought to others' notice. He would speak of God as any other religious and pious man might te., rarely, and with feeling. His religious practice was hardly noticeable. He would sit in the mornings near his Dhuni ie., fire and wave his arms and fingers about, making gestures which conveyed no meaning to us, and saying..."Haq", te., God.

Purity, Strength, Regularity and Self-denial one no­ticed about him always. He would always beg his food. Even during his illness, he never lay bedridden, but would get up and go round to beg his food. He would beg for food, only in the accustomed quarters and to a limited extent. And out of his begged food, he ate only a little and the rest he would give away.

There may be some who complain that even the ordi­nary talk of Sal Baba was meaningless jargon. So it was no doubt-to them-and was intended to be that. "Jaya Mani Jaisa Bhav, Taya Taisa Anubhav." But those who were intended to be benefited by that talk would find their full and vast signifi­cance. He did not want comforts to be provided for him. When the Mosque was sought to be repaired- it was first a rumbling old dirty dilapidated building badly needing re-pairs, he objected and put it off. It was by the devotees' insistence and by their conducting the repairs at night when he was sleeping in the Chavadi, that the reconstruction was pushed through.

Besides Upasani Maharaj, we met many noteworthy persons at Shirdi. Radhakrishna Ayi, a Brahmin widow, was looking after the requirements of Sri Sai Baba's Arati, etc. She ordered people to get things and was held in great re­spect; when we went there in 1915 or so, Sri Sai Baba told us to go to Ayi, and we went to her for accommodation. But Ayi gave it on the strict condition that I should do all the manual labour she might ask of me, I agreed and did the work as required. Ayi related the history of my past life and had wonderful powers of thought-reading and claire voyance. When some unusual order came from Baba that such and such a dish was wanted, she would keep it ready and supply it at once. When some message came for me, she read off my mind the reply I wanted to give and gave the reply herself. She was deeply devoted to Sri Sai Baba, and rendered great service to his Samsthan. Yet it must be admitted that Ayi had a very sharp tongue and many found her uncompanionable. But Sri Sai Baba put us there to develop our power of endur­ance, perhaps.

Sri Sai Baba's methods of giving spiritual help to visi­tors were not usual once. There was no Upadesh Mantra given. He never talked of Yoga, Pranayam and Kundalini. But when anything went wrong to one pursuing some Marga, he would come to Sri Sai Baba and would be helped. There was a man who had practised Asan and Pranayam and the poor man's system broke down. He was passing blood in his motions. So he came to Sri Sai Baba and stayed. After a while his health was restored during his stay at Shirdi.

VII

4 May, 1936, POONA.

raghuvir B. purandhare, s/o Bhaskar Purandhare. aged 60, Brahmin, Deshasth Shukla Yajur Vedi (Kelva Mahim, Thana Dist - originally) now at Bandra. Retired clerk of G.I.P. Rly, Sainath Ashram, 59-B, Perry Road, Bandra, state :

I heard first of Sai Baba in 1909 and went to see him. I was always desirous of association with Sadhus-saintly people. I heard he was a Saint, so I felt attracted to him. He appeared in my dream and called me to Shirdi. At that time my elder daughter (aged then six months) was very ill and so my mother objected to my going. I still persisted in going to Shirdi and I took my wife, that child and my mother with me to Shirdi. I remained there (first visit) for thirteen days. On the third day of my visit, the child got alright. Baba did not permit me to go back till the thirteenth day. I did not ask him about any matter. He told my mother that for seven centu­ries, he (Sai Baba) was connected with me. "I will not forget him-I will always remember him even if he is away more than 2000 miles . I will not eat even a bit without him," said Baba.

Then I started away to Nasik with his permission. We went back to Dadar where I was living. My wife got an attack of cholera and the doctor gave her up as hopeless. I gave Baba's Udhi and Tirtha to her. I saw Baba at the side of Datta Mandir in front of my Dadar house and he ordered me to give the Udhi and Tirtha and so I gave her the Udhi and Tirtha. Half an hour later, she had recovered sufficient warmth and the doctor felt hopeful of her recovery and she recovered. Since then I visited Baba very often and stayed long periods at Shirdi in obedience to Baba's order. Baba would occasion­ally ask Mr. H.S. Dixit to write to me to go over. I have visited Baba often with Dixit.

I went with no worldly motives, though I was very poor; I was an orphan. He told me to continue my previous Upasana. I was and am fond of worshipping Vishnu and of prayers. I continued the same. He asked me several times for Rs. 2 only. Once I asked him what for he asked always for Rs. 2. He then said " It is not these Rupees I want. I want Nishta, le., concentrated faith and Saburi (patience)." I re­plied I had given these-faith in him and was patiently await­ing progress. He told me to keep up Nishta and to be strict and anxious to fulfil all promises I made. "You should have truth always with you. Then I will be always with you, wher­ever you are and at all times." I promised to try my best and wanted his help for controlling my mind. "Please get that done by me" I told him. He agreed. All this was at my very first visit. He then told me to buy my own-house. I had only Rs. 35 salary. By his grace, in three years time I got the house. At once as soon as he said "Buy," I purchased a plot and began to build and in three years, the building was fin­ished at Bandra- wherein I am still living. "Do not ask for a single pie from anyone. I will help you myself." I was slow at first in building. He threw stones at me for my delay. Nana S.C. and H.S. Dixit offered to build it for me. But Baba would not permit it. I then took a loan from my office of Rs. 500 and the built it. It was a lonely building in a field. Baba said that he was sitting himself there and guarding me and my young wife. So I stayed on. I lost my wife in 1920.

He often insisted on my adherence to truth. I am now joint-treasurer of Baba's Samsthan, After Baba's demise, he would appear to me and order me to go and stay at Shirdi and attend to duties, relating to Samsthan. I see and recog­nize his control over me in all details of what I have to do and am doing.

He directed me to co-operate with Kaka Saheb Dixit (le., H.S. Dixit) and told Kaka Saheb to cooperate with me. We two acted together as intimates.

He never talked to me of Dhyana. He never asked anybody to pray to him only. "Continue your usual prayers, be it to Shanker or to Vishnu," he said. He used to give Darshan to the devotee in that form, e.g., S. or V. or Goddess, whichever the devotee adored.

About 1913 - My mother was long pressing me to go to Pandharpur. I did not mention the matter to Baba to get the necessary permission. Baba himself broached the subject of going to Pandharpur and asked her when she was hoping to start. Then Baba gave my wife and mother Darshan of himself as Vithoba and Rukmai, at Shirdi Masjid. They were highly pleased and did not want to go to Pandharpur. He often asked her afterwards when she would go to Pandhar­pur. She always replied thereafter that her God was there at Shirdi which was her Pandharpur.[4] When my wife was ill once before her delivery, Baba appeared in a dream and ap­plied Udhi and she got up and cried, "Baba is come and applying Udhi fresh and hot from the Dhuni. My body is burning. So get up." She got alright. Like this, Baba has appeared several times.

When in great difficulty, I always cried before his pic­ture at home and he would then appear before me at once and comfort me. Nana S.C. told me of Baba's sending a man with Udhi to help his daughter in her delivery in ill-health at jamner; that a tongawalla and horses-not sent by him fetched the messenger and disappeared. That messenger is a Ramgir Gosavi still alive at Shirdi. Baba used to call him Babugir. Nana's two sons, Babu and Bapu, are at Kalyan in "Chan-dorkar Wada, Kalyan." A daughter of his is living at Poona. Nana was proud of his Sanskrit knowledge. Sai Baba asked him to explain, and he did. Baba corrected him and explained it better. This is mentioned in (Satchar-itra) 2 ch. on that matter: Ch. 31,32, & 33 of "Bhakta Lilamrit" by D.G.   and I Ch. in "Santa Katamrit" by D.G.; deal with Sai Baba and "Bhavartha Deepika" by Dabholkar

Sri Sai never talked in my presence about Adwaita, etc. He said always "Allah will Protect," "God protects us all, the poor etc.[5]"

He never said in my presence that He (Sai) is in all. But he often identified himself with God.

He said "whoever   steps   into   the Masjid, reaches his goal, If you act in a good, way, good really will follow."

I do not remember his talking of Pranayama, Kundal-ini, etc., and I never cared for these. N.S.Chandorkar said, Baba knew Sanskrit. Baba took up Bhagavata, etc., and pointed out passages to people as specially suitable for them. This supports N.S.C.

Baba's foreknowledge of his own death:

Two years before 1918 Dusserah, Le., Dusserah of 1916 Baba burnt all his Kupny, langote and kerchief which he took off saying "This is my Simollangan".

People make Shami worship and present Shami leaves to each other and cross their frontier, as though they were hav­ing a successful raid on that day. When people asked him why he burnt out his clothes on this special holiday, he said, "This is my Simolanghan," i,e., "crossing the border." Two hours later, he wore new clothes, Kupni, langotee and headkerchief - just as all people wear new clothes on that day. He remained two hours naked after burning the clothes he wore and was fierce. People forced him to wear these new clothes then, which were always ready by the dozen.

Baba told Ramachandra Dada Patel (who was ill then) that Tatya Patel - the head of his family - 'would go away on this day, after two years'. Two years after that, Tatya was se­riously ill. Baba also was ill for a week before Dusserah; Baba gave up the body and Tatya recovered; So people say that Baba gave up his own life to save Tatya's, Le., in ex­change of Tatya's. Such examples we find in the lives of other saints. Even now, Baba is saving life. Here is an instance.

In 1932 - I was hopelessly ill of Sciatica and Rheuma­tism. I then saw Yama's dutas near me. But Sai Baba came up, sat on my bed, took my hand on his knee and prevented Yamadutas touching me or my bed. I was saved.

I was very passionate, i e., hot tempered. He told me often "If anybody comes and abuses you or punishes you, do not quarrel with him. If you cannot endure it, speak a simple word or two or else go away from the place. But do not battle with him and behave like that. I feel sick and disgusted when you quarrel with others. He said this to me and to others also several times.

Twelve or fifteen days before S.'s death, he drove away myself and Dixit to Bombay. He told us, ' I will go further and you follow me." He gave us permission to go, at the Masjid saying, "my Turbat (Tomb) will speak: my name also will speak, my mutti, i.e., clay will give you replies" and told us to clear away. We went away in a bullock cart. He had no disease at the time and we did not expect his death then. He had spoken these words previously and we did not under­stand their import or importance. Baba never talked in my presence of the goal of life or about Mukti, or Swarga or Paradise. He said once "I will take my Kaka in Vimana."

In 1926 on an Ekadasi in perfect peace and talking of Baba, Kaka Dixit suddenly expired. Baba has often said to me and to others, "He who is mine, even if he dies 1000 miles off, I will drag him to myself just as we draw a sparrow with a thread" and to many people he said "I will not allow my man to get away from me." I saw some devotees dying at Shirdi on Ekadasi. They must have got Swarga thus. Baba did not, to my knowledge, describe Kylash, Vykuntha, Swarga or Mok-sha.

In 1914-6 or so, Baba was asked by a lady, "When will I get a good birth?.

Baba: "In your next birth." Next day, she jumped into a well to end her life but was saved. He occasionally foretold the future. I never asked about my own future. Taking in Vimana" means Sadgati.

Baba advised one Sagun Meru Naik to put some ghee on the rice and place the rice with ghee in the Dhuni (fire) as an offering and then bring the rest to him. This was in his (Sai Baba's) lifetime. Ever since then, S.M.N is doing this. Baba ate that food. That food was brought from his (S.M.N's) own house. Previous to that, his Naivedya had no ghee. The Naivedya is still continued by that man. (I have not seen Baba eating animal food). He told Fakirs to utter Fatya when Moslems made offerings.

Once he asked me to give him all the old copper coins I had. I gave him all I had. I don't know what he did with them. He had old coins tied neatly in a cloth (so as not to make any jingling noise) and keep them in his side pockets. He asked me for Dakshina. I gave up everything. Once I thought I had nothing left of all my coins. Then Baba said, "you have still a two anna piece in your pocket. See." I saw and found it and gave him that also. He used to completely exhaust the finances of many in this way. I do not know with what object he did that. Some people asked him why he wanted so much money. Baba replied. "I am not asking of every one. I ask only from the man whom the Fakir (God) points out. But in exchange, I have to give that man ten times the money for my own use. I have no family etc." He used to give the money freely to all people, singers, tamashi. Fakirs, etc. He used to bring lots of fuel for his Dhunimayi -mother fire at the Dwarkamayi.

The Tulasi grove (Brindavan) at the mosque was put up after 1909, 1911 or 1912. We all helped in that. The Mantap (or Tin shed) in front of the Masjid was put up in 1912. G.S. Khaparde explained Panchadashi, etc., in Sathe's Wada. Upasani Baba also attended there. I never attended, as I was busy with works always. Balvant Ramachandra Noolkar was a retired SubJudge. He came, lived and died at Shirdi.

Sai Baba was seriously ill in 1915. He had Asthma. He would not eat anything then. He was breathing hard; I cried. Baba asked me "Why cry?" I said "I cannot see this state of yours. Baba said, "Don't fear. In two or four days I will be alright, Allah has given me this sickness and he will make me alright, within that period. You need not cry. I was remembering you the last two or three days and told Kaka to write to you to come." Kaka did not write. Sai Baba said "Do not write, he is coming himself. In fact, some how I went up during his illness, not knowing he was ill. He never took medicines for his illness as a rule. Even during his illness, he was supported and carried by the devotees to his begging place. There he would beg and come back and yet not eat the food. He carried on his usual routine of begging, lending, etc., even during all that illness. One day, during his illness, he climbed up the terrace of one house through a staircase, then went over to the next house terrace and over Radhakrishna's. Then a man lifted him up and brought him down to the ground and that man was paid by Baba, 3 or 4 rupees. Baba then said. "We must not get the labour of anyone for nothing." I saw all this. Ambulance-chair was then brought for him, but he never used it. Malegaonkar Fakir Baba (called Bade Baba. Bade Mia by Sai Baba) was getting most moneys.

In 1920 when my wife was seriously ill of influenza, she felt sorry, she could not attend the Urs Ramanavami. That night Sai Baba appeared in her dream and said "Do not cry. I will take you for the Urs." She got slightly better next morning and narrated this to me. Illness still continued and she expired on Ramanavami Crying "Baba, Baba" to the last. On the Ramanavami flag processions: 10 A.M., 12 Noon: Hindi Kirtan of Ram Janma begins after procession ends and flags are hoisted. Then Moslems begin reading their quran. They would take Sai Baba's sandals and go round with it in procession. We, Hindus, would accompany it. They would accompany our flag procession, so in the Arati it is recited that Sai Baba has taken birth to obliterate difference between Hindus and Mohammedans etc.. I saw he had a hole in his ear and when he bathed naked, he had not been circumcised, so far as I could see. Megha worshipped Sai Baba as "Shanker" standing on one leg. Sai Baba told him in a dream to draw the figure of a Trisul on the wall of Sathe's Wada in which Megha lived. Megha did so. A lingam was added soon after and is still there, with Sai Baba's permission and was worshipped by Megha.

Megha narrated an incident that he wanted to give Sai Baba a Gangasnan, Le., a bath in the water of Ganges (Go-davari). But Baba said, "Wet this head only. Head is the chief. Put a little water on it." But Megha went to Godavari at Kopergoan and brought a tubful of water and poured it all over Sai Baba's body. However only the head was wetted. Even the clothes were not wetted. I did not see this. I have heard Sai Baba sing a song once or twice. He would gladly hear people sing to him.

Occasionally, what Sai Baba talked to us, would be found when we went at once to hear Pothi, i.e., the reading of sacred works at Sathe's Wada where Bapu Jog read Eknathi Bhagvat. I had several experiences of the sort. I cannot remember details of even one instance.

5TH MAY, 1936

Baba used to be near the Dhuni, early morning facing south, leaning on a post and doing something. I cannot say what. People were not allowed to go near, le,, even 50 feet. The Sevakaries could cany on their usual service or work of clearing, replenishing fuel for Dhunl, etc. No others could go so near as they. He used to utter words like Yade Haq. They were seldom clear or audible to us at some distance. Allah Malik, Allah Vali Hai, Le., God is the Master and Protector, he used to say often and at all times.

I once got leave from office at Bandra and from my mother to go. The next evening I had to start for Shirdi. But during the night, Sai Baba appeared to me in my dream and said, 'Don't come.'I wondered why. The morning after I was to have left, there was a strike in the workshop. If I had left overnight as I first proposed my officers would have sus­pected me to be at the bottom of the strike and I would be in trouble.   Sai Baba saved me from that.

Yeshwantrao, grandson of Raghunath Mukund, Engi­neer, went with me to Sai Baba in 1911 or 1912 at Ashad Guru Purnima when cholera was raging in Shirdi. He did not wish to return before I did. But Baba told him to go and gave him his udhi. But he did not wish to start. He stayed on though I also told him to go since he had leave of Baba. That night he had an attack of cholera to which he succumbed at Shirdi the next morning. Sai Baba went to Megha, when the later was dying, shed tears there and covered the corpse with flowers and went to the funeral ground where Megha's corpse was burnt. Megha lay ill for two or three days before death. Baba used to give him Udhi then.

Once Sai Baba prevented me from going away to Bom­bay even after 4.30 P.M. The last train at Kopergoan for Manmad would leave at 6.30 P.M. It was a Bazaar day (Mon­day). I got a bullock cart. Baba told Rege to go with me. We reached the river at 6.45 P.M. and reached the Kopergaon station at about 7.45 P.M. The train had gone away. There was a special train, however, running that night which stopped at 8.15 P.M. at Kopergaon and took us to Manmad and thence we reached our homes. There were no trains to Manmad from Kopergoan at night, i.e.,after 6.30.P.M. in those days.

On the very first occasion of my seeing Baba, he told me to go to "Sala". Mr. Dixit explained to me that "Sala" was the residence of Radhakrishna Ayi. I went there. She did not open the door, but inquired from within who I was, etc. I replied. But she would not let me in. After waiting for about ten minutes, I went to the Masjid. Baba asked me if I went to "Sala". I said I did but had been kept outside the bolted door by Ayi. Baba told me to go again. I obeyed. This time Ayi opened the door, fell at my feet, held my feet fast and was crying. I was greatly puzzled, as I had not known her nature. But from that day forward, she loved me up to her death, with a deep motherly love. Thenceforward, she was all in all to me. I spent every minute of my time at Shirdi in service to Sai Baba, in accordance with the directions of Ayi. She made me work hard all day long for Baba, mostly at her residence, often at Masjid and elsewhere. Radhakrishna Ayi was a personality of a strange sort. She would sing charmingly and with deep emotion. Suddenly, she would break into laughter or melt into tears and either continue slowly with choked voice or stop the song altogether by her sobs.

Often Baba detained me at Shirdi, even after my leave expired. In 1912. e.g., he thus detained me. When Syama or anyone mentioned that I had to go back lest my boss should find fault with me, Baba would reply "I am his boss" and keep me on. Thus in that year after long overstaying my leave, I returned and went at 1 P.M. on a Thursday to the office. The foreman of the shop called upon me to explain and reported about my absence without leave. I handed him my resigna­tion. My officer, Mr. Wilson, the Deputy Superintendent, sent for me and asked me where I had been. I said I was at Shirdi. He knew everything, tore my resignation paper and put it into the waste paper basket. The foreman was discontented but was powerless to do any harm. The Chief told the foreman that I was not his , Le., the foreman's servant or subordinate. In six months time I was promoted and that foreman became my subordinate.

VIII

17TH OCTOBER, 1936.

rao saheb yeshwant janardan galwankar, B.A., Brahmin, Landholder and Superintendent, Home department, Secretar­iat, Bombay, aged 51, living at Turner Road, Bandra (Bombay 20), says:

I visited Sai Baba in 1911 first. I went because my father-in-law. Mr. Dabholkar and other relations, went to Baba. I had heard of his saintliness but was not very serious personally to benefit by the visit either temporally or spiritu­ally. I went thus four or five times. But gradually my interest increased. He appeared in my dream and asked for Rs. 2 dakshina. When I woke up, I resolved to send it and I sent Rs. 2 M.O to Baba at Shirdi. In that dream, he gave me two valuable directions, first,i.e., behave with probity and integrity: secondly, be chaste, be sexually pure. I have followed these directions with great care and zeal. Then on one occasion, it was perhaps 1917, when I went to Shirdi, he placed his palm over my head and that had a strange effect on me. I forgot myself and all surroundings and passed into as ecstatic condition. Then, it seems, Baba was telling others present (as I was told afterwards) that I was a soul characterized by integrity and purity, that I went through certain forms, states and conditions in my previous births (which he described), that he placed me in my present mother's womb in this birth and that I had still retained my integrity and purity.

I went to him during my Christmas or other vacations. He never made me overstay my leave. I have full faith in him. He has, however, given me neither Adwaitic self-realisation nor any other teaching on ethical or religious matters- except what I have stated already. I have, however, heard him say at one of my visits to Shirdi, i.e., I am not (confined) within this body of 3 1/2 cubits- height, I am everywhere. See me in every place." I believe that all my studies are directed by him, and I go on studying Gita, Bhagavata, Le., Eka-dashaskandha of Ekanath. But I was not directed by him to study them, in the way in which he directed Jog, H.S.Dixit, etc., I am sorry I made so little use of him, to get into contact with him before he attained Mahasamadhi. I was much younger and, therefore, not so serious-minded then as I am now. I found also few among those who approached him, fit enough to take to self-realisation. Hardly any soared so high. Even up to other spiritual and levels few soared.

As for dakshinas, when I went to him first, I started from my lodgings to go to his Mosque. But on the way I recollected that he would ask for dakshina. So I went back and took Rs.2, in order that I might pay it to him. When I was with him at the Mosque, he asked me for dakshina. I paid him the Rs.2, and he did not ask me for more. I was glad to note his Antarjnana of my intention and preparation to pay him Rs.2, and his kindness in accepting that amount. Baba has been kind to me. I am perfectly content to continue in the state in which I am placed.

(Some years back) In 1921. perhaps, I started with my family to Prayag and Kashi. At Prayag, I was taken to all holy spots. At Bharadwajashrama, my heart was touched and I prayed to Sai Baba to give me the sight of some Sant. I had told my guide also, that besides seeing holy spots, I was anxious to see holy Sants. Within a few minutes after we left Bharadwaja's Ashram, the guide stopped our Tongas and pointed to a venerable Saint, "Whose beard descending swept his aged breast." The guide stated that rarely, once in some years or so, that Saint would visit Prayag, that his Saintliness was widely known, that he would not allow people to ap­proach him and that he would accept no money. Seeing him, so soon after my prayer for the sight of a Saint, my heart was all aglow and I went near enough to him, despite my guide's protests. The Sant far from being angry, welcomed me with arms raised by way of blessing and said "Come, child." My wife, mother and other ladies also approached despite my guide's objections. They too were well received and blessed by him. Then I bethought myself what gifts I should give. I had no flower, fruit or eatable with me. I found three annas in my pocket and gave it to him. Much to the surprise of my guide and contrary to his custom, he received the annas, looked at the coins with a pleased countenance and pocketed them. I felt that it was Sai Baba that gave me this welcome and accepted dakshina.

Since I got ecstasy by Baba's blessing, I began to pay more attention to Adhyatma, le., spiritual side of my exis­tence. Then came the second stage in 1932. I had a dream then. Baba came to me in that dream and asked me, "What do you want?" I replied. "I want to get Prem,i.e., Love, that and that alone". Baba blessed me with Prem and disap­peared. Ever since then, I have had spells of Prem gushing through me - sometimes while I meditate, sometimes while I am reading, etc.

IX

5TH NOVEMBER, 1936, SHIRDI

abdullah jan, originally of Tarbella. Hazara District, near Peshawar, Muhammadan, Pathan, living for years at Korhale near Sakori, aged 40, says:

I had left Tarbella when I was quite a boy.   I had none to support me. I wished to go abroad and see Mecca, etc. So I travelled down south upto Manmad. From there some one who took interest in me said that I could easily go to Bombay and, then to Mecca, etc. But I was informed (in 1913 when I was at Haripur on the way to Manmad) that Sai Baba was a great person at Shirdi who was liberally showering moneys on fakirs and would send me to Mecca, if I wanted. So I went to Shirdi. As I entered the gate of Masjid, Baba was in the main building. I looked at Him and He at me. Our eyes met. At once I felt that Sai was indeed my Guru. I stayed on at Shirdi. He fed me and other fakirs abundantly and I resolved to stay on and lead an easy life at Shirdi with him. This was in 1913. I was not taking a serious view of life then, because I was so young. My stay with Baba brought about some changes in my mentality. When I came to Shirdi, I regarded Hindus as enemies of mine. After remaining about three years with Baba. this feeling of animist passed away and I was viewing Hindus as my brethren. Now, for instance, I see with regret that at Bombay, Hindus wish to destroy Moslems and their Mosques, and Moslems wish to destroy Hindus and their temples. If both succeed in wiping out each other they will only make room for persons of other faiths to establish themselves in the place of these two.

Baba passed away when I was aged 22 and so did not benefit me on the religious side in any appreciable way. I was feeling disappointed and I set out on my travels. In 1926, I was going back north. There in the Swat Valley, (Malekhand Agency), I found the tomb of a great Saint, Akun Baba who was a Sayyad or direct descendant of Mohammed. It is re­ported of him that when Lord Roberts was advancing west­wards with a view to quell the Moslem tribes there, he felt that he could not move one foot further. It is said that Akun Baba, by his magical power, locked up Lord Roberts in a hill for 3 months and 11 days and Lord Roberts communicated to Queen Victoria (the British Government) this predicament of his. Akun Baba's powers were widely talked of in those days and I lay down one night near his tomb praying that he might be pleased to take me under his wings and help me as Sai Baba had not given me help. During the night, I had a dream wherein I saw not Akun Baba but Sai Baba. Sai Baba was seated on a chair near my head, as I lay there. Baba did not speak. When I woke, I recollected this dream or vision and found that I was still under Sai Baba's care. I had not ad­dressed him- but only addressed Akun Baba, when I went to sleep there. Yet he, Sai Baba, was kind enough to come to me of his own accord, (to help me) into Swat Valley, 1,500 miles off Shirdi. My idea that Sai Baba had deceived me by giving me no help during the five years I was with him at Shirdi was evidently not right. I got more faith in Baba from the time of that dream or vision in the Swat Valley. I re­turned back to this side and I have full faith in him now. (I am married since 1924 and live with my family at Koshale, four miles from here). Baba appears before me once in two or four years. I moralise on the past sometimes and see the vanity of my poor existence. Baba was surrounded by crowds in his lifetime and it was hard to find room in the Mosque on account of these crowds. What a number of dogs, etc., were swarming round him! Now there are very few men and hardly any dogs to be seen at the Mosque which is as a rule de­serted. If Baba's splendour was so short-lived and if it faded away so quickly, what of me, a poor gnat?

I have heard of or seen no "Rohillas" staying with Baba. But I have known and heard of some intolerant Pa-thans who came to him. The late Baba Saheb. le., R.A.Tarkhad, told me of an incident in his life. He was sleep­ing one night at the Chavadi by the side of Baba. One Mir Jaman of Kandahar was then with Baba as a recent visitor. Suddenly, one night, at about 3 A.M. Mir Jaman got up and told Baba that the Hindus were spoiling him, and Maham-medan faith, and asked Baba if he would permit him, le., Mir Jaman, to take the sword and strike away at the throats of all the Hindus there and effect Baba's release. R.A. Tarkhad listened with fear and wondered if the wretch meant really to murder him in cold blood. Sai Baba, however, placated Mir Jaman by saying that he (Baba) was pagal, Le., mad and the Hindus worshipping him there were mad, that he was re­sponsible for their worshipping him (contrary to the custom and tenets of the Islamic faith) and not they for his mad state, and that it was his throat that should be cut by Mir Jaman, if he wanted to cut any throats and not theirs. Thereafter, Mir Jaman kept quiet.

There was another intolerant Moslem, named Abdullah Khan of Nagpur, who stayed sometime (three or four months) with Baba. He was a journalist and familiar with Buty, Mahatma Gandhi, etc. He was a Hindustani pathan and not a Rohilla. He died at Ahmednagar. During his stay at Shirdi, he was occasionally complaining that Baba had deceived him. Once this man beat Nana Chopdar and was charged before the Kopergaon Magistrate. He was convicted and fined. He had no money to pay the fine of Rs. 15 and no security to oifer and so was in jail for a while. Then Buty sent him Rs. 15. It seems that he declined it saying, that "he that deceived me should pay the Rs. 15 and no others." Then Baba sent Rs. 15 out on his own pocket and got him released. I learnt that this man once told Baba, "I see that you are violating the principles of Islam by what goes on here and that your throat should be cut". At that, it seems, Baba laughed and then the man begged pardon of Baba, at which again Baba laughed.

When Baba was alive, I heard him say to someone who feared that Baba would pass away and with him all his work and influence ‘Hunadande Hanin’ which is Mahratti for "From within the tomb I will beat with sticks." le.t that death of his body will not terminate his influence or activity.

X

20TH OCTOBER, 1936.

Chakra Narayana, christian, aged about 50, Reader to Police Deputy Superintendent, Thana, says:

I was Police Fouzdar at Kopergaon when Baba passed away (October 1918). I was not a believer in Baba. We were watching Baba through our men. Even though I watched him sceptically, the result was to create in me a high regard for him. First and foremost was the fact that he was not moved by women or wealth. -Many women would come to him and place their heads on his feet and sit before him. But he was unmoved; he would not care to cast one glance of admi­ration, or of lust at them. He was clearly and unmistakably unattached. About money also, we watched him. People voluntarily gave him money. If any did not give him money, Baba would not curse or hate or be displeased with him. The same held good about his begging for bread. He did not care for what he got. Whatever he got, he scattered with a liberal hand. When he died, we took possession of his cash; that was only Rs. 16. Yet daily he was paying or giving away hundreds of rupees. Often we noticed that his receipts were smaller than his disbursements. Wherefrom came the excess for him to disburse or pay? We could not make out. This made me conclude that he had divine powers.

Again his behaviour towards all religions was noble. He would never decry or depreciate any religion or person be­longing to any caste, groups or position. When I went there, he was told that the Fouzdar was a Christian. "What of that?" was his reply. "He is my brother." His powers were marvellous. A Police Officer went to him; Baba asked him for dakshina. The Officer replied that he had nothing. Baba then said, "See your purse. There is a fifty rupee note in it." The note was then produced and offered to Baba. But Baba wanted only a small amount out of it and told him to keep the balance, as he would soon be in trouble and need it. So Indeed it happened. Soon after this visit, the Officer got into trouble and had to use that balance to extricate himself. Af­ter thus escaping from the trouble, the grateful Officer sent the balance to Shirdi.

I helped at the time when Baba's properties were at­tached at his death. Statements were taken from the public as to the disposal of the property, and the Mamlatdar Magis­trate issued orders based upon the statements. This saved much trouble to the Samasthan. Baba's Udhi has cured many cases of Illness.

XI

26TH SEPTEMBER, 1936. BANDRA.

joseph fouzdar, Retired Fouzdar, Christian, 46, Turner Road, Bandra, says:

I never went to Shirdi. But from friends here I heard of him and I have his picture here with me. I do not worship the picture or Sai Baba. I regard him as a Saint. He had great power.

In 1917, Norvekar (Gajanan) was ill.  His son took Rs. 500 and paid it to Baba. Baba on receiving it began to quiver with fever. When asked for an explanation, Baba said, "When we want to do anything for others we have to take on ourselves burdens and responsibilities." Then shortly there­after Gajanan Norvekar was cured of his fever.

Once I had a very difficult criminal case to detect, I prayed for help. Sal Baba came to me in a dream and gave me directions how I was to proceed. I acted on that and was successful in my detection. In 1916, there were two terrible pathan deceits. I and my sepoys tried to catch them. My sepoy was killed by the Pathan. I was wounded myself and went to the Hospital. This was in a way foretold by Baba. He appeared in my dream the previous night and showed me that two people held and dragged me and took me to a wed­ding.

I get my daily help and inspiration and great relief from my Patron Saint, St. Francis Xavier. Baba occasionally helps me.

XII

15TH DECEMBER, 1936.

dadaji gopinath joshi, Ram Marutl Road, Dadar, Says:

I went to Shirdi in 1932. My son, aged 12 months, had smallpox and fever. The illness was serious. Udhi and Tirtha were applied. Without any medicine, the boy was re­stored to health. I vowed, I would take him to Shirdi. Some­how, I failed to perform my vow for a long period. My boy got fits. I then remembered my vow and the breach of my prom­ise. I vowed this time that I would positively and quickly take him to Shirdi and perform various ceremonies if he should be cured. He was cured. At once, Le., in 1932, I took him to Shirdi. There we performed Abhishek. We then started away. When we were half way towards Kopergaon, the fits revived. R.B.Purandhare, who was with us, asked us to go back and see what performance of the vows we were still defaulting in. Then we learnt that only Abhishek had been done and the rest remained unperformed. So we set about fulfilling all our vows. Then the boy, who had been half unconscious and in fits till we reached Shirdi climbed up the Samadhi of Baba and was clapping his hands. We had no more trouble. Again in 1933, we went to Shirdi. On the way at Kopergaon, we got on foot into the Godavari, as some one told us it was fordable at that time. But when I, bearing my son in my arm, and my wife reached the middle of the stream, the force of the current seemed very strong and it seemed that we would be washed down by the current. I felt giddy also. I closed my eyes and began to pray to Sai Baba for help. Within five minutes, Bala Gurav, a servant of Sai Samsthan, came into the middle of the river and held me and helped me through. He held and helped my wife also to cross the river.

We were celebrating or conducting my sons's Jayawal or tuft ceremony at Kashi and we intended that simultane­ously with it, an Abhishek of Baba should be performed at Shirdi. But we forgot to inform Nanu Pujari at Shirdi and no (simultaneous) Abhishek of Baba was done. We went from Kashi to Gaya, and there at the Gayawali's house the fits came on again. So I remembered my failure to carry out the Abhishek and wrote at once to Nanu Pujari to perform two Abhisheks, one by way of penalty. Then our further journey was safe and the boy's health was alright.

In 1934, my boy had some sort of fever; none could diagnose it. Udhi and Tirtha cured it. In 1935, his toe had huge swelling. The Doctor wanted to cut it. But Udhi effected the cure. I rely on Baba and I am safe.



[1] i.e absorption or infused contemplation. This devotee has also stated that Baba had musical gifts and musical appreciation - especially of Bhajana Kirtans, that Baba sent for him at midnight, and made him sing and corrected mistakes in "Ragas" and gave him some musical tips and that iiaba himself sang with a charming voice.

 

[2] i.e., after 1913.

[3] " Cf. the same view In E.Herman's Meaning & Value of Mysticism p-14. There is nothing more seriously powerful than the Influence of phrase­ology upon the mind and in eight cases out of ten, a proposition which would be convincing if couched in the language of the reader's intellectual habit be­comes sicklied over with the pale cast' of artificiality and quasl-esoterldsm when presented in a foreign tongue'.

[4] i.e. Shirdi is my Pandharpur and Sai Baba is my Vithoba is part of Shirdi Arati for about 30 years, and is sung by all.

 

[5] le.. People think they are all dillerent Irom each other.   But in this, they are wrong, 1 am inside you.   You are inside me.

This he said about 1913 or 1914.   He added "You continue to thmk in this way.  Then you will realise it."

Me did not say "I am the Absolute Reality."   2] i.e., after 1913.

[3] " Cf. the same view In E.Herman's Meaning & Value of Mysticism p-14. There is nothing more seriously powerful than the Influence of phrase­ology upon the mind and in eight cases out of ten, a proposition which would be convincing if couched in the language of the reader's intellectual habit be­comes sicklied over with the pale cast' of artificiality and quasl-esoterldsm when presented in a foreign tongue'.

[4] i.e. Shirdi is my Pandharpur and Sai Baba is my Vithoba is part of Shirdi Arati for about 30 years, and is sung by all.

 

[5] le.. People think they are all dillerent Irom each other.   But in this, they are wrong, 1 am inside you.   You are inside me.

This he said about 1913 or 1914.   He added "You continue to thmk in this way.  Then you will realise it."

Me did not say "I am the Absolute Reality."   He said that he was inside animals.